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ICRC needs 938.7 million Swiss francs to help victims of armed conflict and internal violence in 2003

10-12-2002 News Release 02/76

Geneva (ICRC) –The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) today presented its priorities and funding requirements for 2003, appealing for nearly one billion Swiss francs for humanitarian work in some 80 countries. The budget submitted to representatives of donor countries in Geneva includes 788.8 million francs for field expenditure and 149.9 million francs to fund the work of ICRC headquarters in Geneva.

   

The five largest operations worldwide will be in Afghanistan, Israel and the occupied and autonomous territories, the Russian Federation (in particular the northern Caucasus region), the Democratic Republic of Congo and Sudan. Among the most substantial budget increases compared with 2002 are those for Liberia, Côte d’Ivoire, Myanmar and Colombia, while the most significant reductions are those for Afghanistan, Sri Lanka, Sierra Leone and the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.

The ICRC currently has about 10,000 staff working out of 200 offices worldwide.

Presenting the budget for 2003, the ICRC's President, Jakob Kellenberger, reiterated the organization’s commitment to assisting and protecting victims of armed conflict and internal violence by working in the clos est possible proximity to those it seeks to help. Mr Kellenberger deplored the fact that civilians are deliberately targeted in many armed conflicts, and identified efforts to enhance respect for the rights of all persons protected under international humanitarian law as a key challenge for the ICRC in 2003. In this context, the ICRC President emphasized the importance of reinforcing and developing mechanisms to ensure that humanitarian law is fully applied.

Outlining some of the ICRC's priorities for the coming year, Mr Kellenberger drew attention to the international experts'conference on the issue of persons missing as a result of armed conflict, which will be convened by the ICRC in February 2003. He also highlighted the forthcoming publication of the ICRC study on customary law applicable in armed conflict, and preparations for the International Conference of the Red Cross and Red Crescent due to take place in December 2003.

The ICRC's Director of Operations, Pierre Kraehenbuehl, stated that to better fulfil its objectives the ICRC must further enhance its understanding of increasingly complex conflict situations and expand its network of contacts. He argued that this will enable the ICRC to maintain a necessary dialogue with all parties to and actors involved in a given armed conflict. Responding to criticisms that international humanitarian law is out of step with the reality of trends in modern warfare, in particular the “war on terror”, Mr Kraehenbuehl stressed that “were it not for the provisions contained in international humanitarian law and the stubborn determination of our colleagues in the field to see them upheld in the remotest corners of the globe, the situation for many men, women and children would doubtless be far more desperate than it already is”.

Both the President and Director of Operations thanked the donors for the level and quality of their funding in 2002 and expressed the hope that their continued support would enable the ICRC to work ceaselessly to preserve a scope for humanitarian action in the midst of conflict, a " space " in which people affected by war can be protected and assisted in an impartial and effective manner.

 Further information:  

 Florian Westphal, ++41 22 730 29 30 or mobile ++41 79 217 32 26