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Zimbabwe: ICRC activities in 2007

15-02-2008 Operational Update

The ICRC regional delegation covering Botswana, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Zambia and Zimbabwe focuses on spreading knowledge of international humanitarian law, assisting vulnerable rural communities, visiting detained persons, and restoring family contact. It also works closely with the national Red Cross societies in the region.

In 2007, the ICRC pressed on with its efforts to ease the mounting hardships and challenges faced by people living in remote rural areas of Zimbabwe, in particular by helping the authorities to provide health care and water and sanitation services.

The regional delegation carried out the following activities:

 Restoring family links – the ICRC:  

  • reunited 21 children and four vulnerable adults from refugee camps in Zambia with their families in Angola, Burundi and the Democratic Republic of the Congo;

  • collected more than 8,000 and distributed about 6,500 Red Cross messages enabling separated family members to exchange news.
     

 Detention visits – the ICRC:  

  • visited 127 detainees in Namibia, 16 in Botswana, and two in Zambia;

  • with support from the Namibia Red Cross and the Botswana Red Cross, arranged for:600 individuals to visit detained relatives in various prisons in Namibia; 32 individuals to travel from the Caprivi strip of Namibia to visit detained relatives in the Francistown Centre for Illegal Immigrants in Botswana; 128 others to visit their loved ones in the Dukwi refugee camp.

 Health – the ICRC:  

  • distributed anti-mal arial, antibiotic and other drugs, various medical items and 30,000 mosquito nets to 16 health-care facilities in three rural districts of Zimbabwe;

  • funded training received by 122 nurses in the prevention and treatment of malaria and in the integrated management of childhood illnesses;

  • provided logistical support in three remote districts for Zimbabwean health ministry medical staff performing immunization services.

 Water and sanitation – the ICRC:  

  • donated water-treatment equipment to the Zimbabwe National Water Authority in order to improve the quality and supply of water for Harare-area residents;

  • donated spare parts that were used to repair and upgrade more than 300 hand pumps in rural Zimbabwe;

  • upgraded five hand pumps in medical clinics in remote areas;

  • drilled eight bore holes and equipped them with hand pumps in remote areas;

  • built 10 incinerators and one waste storage pit in health-care centres in order to improve sanitation and management of medical waste.

    

 Communication:  

As part of its mandate to promote international humanitarian law (IHL) and encourage efforts to integrate it into national law and military training, the ICRC led workshop sessions on implementing IHL, co-organized by Zimbabwe’s defence ministry.

It also organized a course on IHL for future government administrators at the Zambian National Institute for Administration in Lusaka and gave a presentation at a workshop organized by the Southern Africa Development Community’s Regional Peacekeeping Training Centre.

The delegation taught th e basics of IHL to 136 officers of the Zimbabwe National Army and the Air Force of Zimbabwe and gave an IHL course for 16 Zimbabwean defence ministry legal advisers. It organized a workshop on human rights and humanitarian law for 25 prison officers in Namibia and briefed 52 Zimbabwean police officers on the ICRC and its operations.

In its efforts to promote knowledge of IHL among in universities and to young people, the ICRC organized a national moot court competition on IHL, whose winning team, the University of Zimbabwe, also won the pan-African moot court competition. It gave seven lectures on the ICRC, the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement, and basic principles of IHL for over 1,800 young people in youth camps in rural Zimbabwe.

 Cooperation:  

The ICRC supports the work of national Red Cross societies, especially in the field of promoting IHL and knowledge of the Red Cross / Red Crescent Movement and emergency preparedness. In this respect, it:

  • provided training for 200 national society staff and volunteers from across the region;

  • presented the principles guiding the work of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement and basic rules of IHL to 60 Botswana Red Cross volunteers and 30 school headmasters and teachers;

  • provided information on the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement for volunteer school Red Cross youth club patrons in Malawi;

  • explained dissemination techniques to district volunteer liaison officers in Malawi;

  • supported and made arrangements for the participation of six national staff legal advisers at a meeting of legal advisers in Geneva;

  • made a donation enabling the Zimbabwe Red Cross Society to provide essential household items for 3,000 flood victims in Zimbabwe.