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The ICRC regional delegation in the Pacific

10-01-2012 Overview

The ICRC regional delegation in the Pacific is based in Suva, Fiji. It covers 16 countries (Australia, Cook Islands, Fiji, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Nauru, New Zealand, Niue, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu, Vanuatu) and other territories of the Pacific. The delegation's main focus is the promotion of international humanitarian law (IHL) and other humanitarian issues with governments, security forces, academic circles, the media and civil society. It also provides relief assistance to communities affected by conflict, visits detainees and supports and works with Red Cross National Societies in the region.

Helping detainees

The regional delegation in the Pacific visits detainees arrested in connection with past unrest in Fiji and the Solomon Islands. In 2010, it began visiting prisons in Papua New Guinea. The aim of these visits is to ensure that treatment of detainees and conditions of detention meet internationally recognized standards. The ICRC shares its findings and suggestions with the relevant authorities. In the Solomon Islands the ICRC supports a family visit programme for detainees – this is managed by the Solomon Islands Red Cross.

Supporting communities stricken by intercommunal violence

In Papua New Guinea, the ICRC, together with the Papua New Guinea Red Cross Society,  maintains an increasing presence in areas affected by intercommunal violence. It has established contacts with communities and groups involved in tribal violence in order to build up trust and gain acceptance of Red Cross work in such volatile situations. When necessary and possible, the ICRC supports affected communities with basic everyday or medical relief.

Promoting international humanitarian law

In the Pacific, the ICRC works together with National Societies to promote the ratification of IHL treaties by countries in the region and assists the authorities in formulating the necessary measures to implement such treaties at the national level. The ICRC also assists the authorities in their responsibility to promote knowledge about IHL at the national level.

To this end, the ICRC has specific programs to increase knowledge of IHL among members of the armed and security forces in general. These efforts are adapted to the needs of countries where there is a potential for violence, or those which are deploying troops abroad. This is done through training courses, presentations, regional events, by supporting personnel to attend overseas training and participating in military exercises.

The ICRC promotes wider coverage of humanitarian issues by the region’s media through regular contact, briefings, and by providing information and training,.It also works to raise awareness of its mandate and activities among human rights non-governmental organizations, think-tanks and community leaders. Academic institutions are encouraged and supported to increase knowledge of IHL among students and to incorporate IHL into law and journalism curricula.

Supporting National Societies

The ICRC supports the efforts of the region’s National Societies to be distinct humanitarian actors in their respective countries. It provides training, expertise and material support to help National Societies respond effectively to armed conflict, other situations of violence or other emergencies. In particular, it focuses on capacity building in restoring family links services and first aid, the ability to work safely in situations of armed violence and the promotion of IHL and the Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement identity.

The regional delegation in the Pacific was originally based in Jakarta, then in Manila, and moved to Suva in 2001. It coordinates all ICRC work in the 16 countries and territories it covers. In order to increase its response capacity in Papua New Guinea, the delegation opened a representative office (Mission) in Port Moresby in 2007. Its work in Australia has been managed by its office in Sydney since 1994.


Photos

Papua New Guinea. On the island of Bougainville, the ICRC is helping with the rebuilding of the health-care infrastructure, which was destroyed during an internal armed conflict in the 1990s. In this picture, the ICRC, together with the Papua New Guinea Red Cross Society, is delivering medical equipment to Arawa Health Centre. 

Papua New Guinea. On the island of Bougainville, the ICRC is helping with the rebuilding of the health-care infrastructure, which was destroyed during an internal armed conflict in the 1990s. In this picture, the ICRC, together with the Papua New Guinea Red Cross Society, is delivering medical equipment to Arawa Health Centre.
© ICRC

Fiji. The ICRC conducts yearly visits to detention facilities in Fiji. This picture shows an ICRC delegate talking to the prison's administrative and maintenance staff at Lautoka Prison, Ba Province. 

Fiji. The ICRC conducts yearly visits to detention facilities in Fiji. This picture shows an ICRC delegate talking to the prison's administrative and maintenance staff at Lautoka Prison, Ba Province.
© ICRC / v-p-fj-e-00006

Papua New Guinea. An ICRC water engineer supervises the delivery of water to Bihure prison. The ICRC also provides assistance to prisons to help ensure adequate living and sanitary conditions, and reports to prison authorities to support them in meeting international standards and local rules. 

Papua New Guinea. An ICRC water engineer supervises the delivery of water to Bihure prison. The ICRC also provides assistance to prisons to help ensure adequate living and sanitary conditions, and reports to prison authorities to support them in meeting international standards and local rules.
© ICRC

Australia. An ICRC delegate participates in a field exercise conducted by the Australian Defence Force. During the exercise, the ICRC simulated field scenarios, including the capturing and treatment of prisoners by armed forces. 

Australia. An ICRC delegate participates in a field exercise conducted by the Australian Defence Force. During the exercise, the ICRC simulated field scenarios, including the capturing and treatment of prisoners by armed forces.
© ICRC