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Geneva: canton pledges support for victims of "forgotten conflicts"

01-12-2009 News Release 09/242

Geneva (ICRC) – At a ceremony held on 30 November at the headquarters of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), Laurent Moutinot, a member of Geneva's Conseil d'État (cantonal government), and Jakob Kellenberger, the ICRC's president, signed an agreement under which the canton will provide financial support of three million Swiss francs per year to the ICRC during the period 2010-2013.

By taking this step, Geneva's cantonal government has confirmed its intention to continue its longstanding cooperation with the ICRC, and underscored its commitment to the humanitarian principles the ICRC stands for. The canton's financial support will bolster the ICRC's efforts to aid people adversely affected by armed conflict, particularly in contexts often forgotten by international public opinion.

" It is the desire and hope of Geneva's government that'the spirit of Geneva,'consisting of tolerance, open-mindedness, a willingness to help, and a vision of peace, will continue to inspire you, just as it inspired Henry Dunant and his associates, in circumstances at least as difficult, when they founded the Red Cross, " declared Mr Moutinot in his speech.

The Canton of Geneva signed similar agreements with the ICRC in 2004 and 2007 to formalize its commitment to assist victims of forgotten conflicts. The funding provided was allocated in particular to the organization's humanitarian activities in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Afghanistan, Somalia, Liberia, Burundi, Côte d'Ivoire and Georgia.

" Our aim is to help protect the lives and dignity of victims of armed conflict and to provide them with aid. Achieving this aim is a humanitarian challenge requiring not only a high level of commitment on the part of all our staff but also considerable resources, " said Mr Kellenberger. " That is why I very much appreciate the canton's spirit of solidarity with the victims of forgotten conflicts. "

Consistent with its commitment to uphold human rights, the Canton of Genev a is making its support available in accordance with legislation providing for the financing of international solidarity.

  For further information, please contact:
  Florian Westphal, ICRC Geneva, tel: +41 22 730 22 82 or +41 79 217 32 80
  Carla Haddad Mardini, ICRC Geneva, tel: +41 22 730 24 05 or +41 79 217 32 26
  Fabienne Bugnon, Canton of Geneva human rights office, tel: +41 22 327 00 67