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Brazil: Red Cross photo exhibitions at World Social Forum

27-01-2009 News Release 09/24

Brasília (ICRC) – At the ninth World Social Forum, held from 27 January to 1 February in the northern Brazilian city of Belém, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) is exhibiting a series of photographs that illustrate three themes: its work in Colombia, the dangers of landmines, cluster munitions and explosive remnants of war, and the presence of antipersonnel landmines on Latin American soil.

The Brazilian Red Cross is displaying photographs depicting its assistance programme in the northern state of Pará.

The exhibition An Emblem for Humanitarian Action shows the neutral and impartial activities carried out by the ICRC in Colombia, where the organization assists tens of thousands of victims of armed conflict each year. The photographs underscore the importance of respect for the Red Cross emblem, which enables the ICRC to assist and protect people affected by armed conflict and other situations of violence throughout the world. The ICRC carries out its work in conformity with the mandate entrusted to it under the 1949 Geneva Conventions and with the statutes of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement.

The exhibition Weapons that Keep Killing warns of the dangers of landmines, cluster munitions and unexploded remnants of war, which have contaminated many countries in the world. These devices continue to kill and maim people long after conflicts have ended. In the exhibition America Contaminated , photojournalists Vinicus Souza and Maria Eugenia Sá, working together with the ICRC, draw attention to the suffering of victims of antipersonnel mines in Latin America, a problem whose scope is not yet widely known in the region. Such mines are scattered over large tracts of land in Argentina, Bolivia, Colombia, Chile, Ecuador, Peru and Venezuela, presenting a serious threat to the population. 

 Brazilian Red Cross at Work in Pará , a series of 10 photographs selec ted by the Pará branch of the Brazilian Red Cross, depicts the annual Cirio de Nazaré procession, one of the country's largest, from an aid worker's point of view. The photos illustrate emergency activities carried out by Red Cross workers, together with fire-fighters, hospital staff and public authorities, to assist persons injured during the procession.

The ICRC has been present in Brazil continuously since 1991. In June 2008, the ICRC and the Brazilian Red Cross began to train volunteers in four favelas in Río de Janeiro hard hit by violence: Complexo de Alemão, Complexo da Maré, Vigário Geral and Parada de Lucas. The volunteers are taught how to provide first aid for the sick and injured so as to alleviate their suffering and increase their chances of survival until public medical services arrive. As of December 2008, volunteers have also been involved in activities aimed at preventing the spread of Dengue fever in the same favelas and in those of Cidade de Deus, Vila Vintém and Cantagallo.

The ICRC supports the efforts of the Brazilian Red Cross to strengthen its administrative and operational capacities. The ICRC also carries out activities designed to promote compliance with human rights norms by police forces, in particular by training some 1,000 police instructors throughout the country.

For further information, please contact:
  Sandra Lefcovich, ICRC, Brasilia, tel: +55 61 32 48 02 50 or +55 61 81 22 01 19
  Marçal Izard, ICRC, Geneva, tel: +41 22 730 2458 or +41 79 217 3224
  or visit our website: