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Chile: Parliament pays tribute to the Red Cross

18-05-2000 News Release 00/18

The Chilean parliament met in special session on 9 May at Valparaiso to pay tribute to the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement, as part of observances of the 8 May World Red Cross and Red Crescent Day. Members of parliament representing each of the six main national political parties took the floor to emphasize the importance of the Movement's activities nationally and internationally, and their commitment to the rules of international humanitarian law and to Red Cross principles. The session was attended by the entire Central Committee and many volunteers of the Chilean Red Cross, and by the ICRC regional delegate for southern Latin America.

A ceremony had been held the previous day in Santiago, during which new volunteers of the National Society promised to uphold the fundamental principles of the Movement. Representatives of the country's highest authorities, notably the President's wife and the Defence and Health Ministers, were in attendance. Following a report on the National Society's activities given by its President, the ICRC regional delegate outlined the main items on the agenda of the ICRC and the Movement, including proposals for solving the emblem issue.

 Talks with the new government  

The ICRC regional delegate also had several discussions in the Chilean capital with members of the government of President Ricardo Lagos, which was formed less than two months ago. In particular, he met with the Interior and Defence Ministers, the Foreign and Justic e Vice Ministers, and the Director of Prison Services. With all of these, he raised issues of great importance to the ICRC, such as Chile's ratification of or accession to instruments of humanitarian law to which it is not yet a party (the Ottawa treaty banning landmines, the Statute of the International Criminal Court and the 1980 treaty on conventional weapons).