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Brazil: Haiti peace-keepers briefed on basic humanitarian principles

27-02-2008 News Release 08/35

Brasilia (ICRC) – At the invitation of Brazil’s defence ministry, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) gave a presentation in Brasilia on 21 February on its neutral and impartial humanitarian work and the basic humanitarian principles applicable to the Haitian context.

Some 30 Brazilian army and navy officers serving in ninth contingent of the country’s peace-keeping forces in Haiti attended. The Brazilian armed forces have been in command of the military component of the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) since it was established by the United Nations Security Council in 2004.

By taking part in seminars, meetings and conferences organized in Brazil for MINUSTAH troop contingents, the ICRC intends to promote such basic humanitarian principles as the obligation to spare medical facilities and first-aid workers as well as others not participating in hostilities. In addition, it endeavours to ensure that the necessary conditions for carrying out its humanitarian work in the field are fulfilled. Both the ICRC delegation in Port-au-Prince and the ICRC office in Brasilia are involved in these efforts.

The ICRC has been working in Haiti without interruption since 1994. It currently has 60 staff members, including 12 expatriates, in the country. Its main activities include improving access to water and sanitation facilities, ensuring that people wounded as a result of violence have access to medical services, and boosting the capacity of the Haitian National Red Cross Society, especially in the areas of management, emergency-response preparedness of first-aid workers and dissemination of humanitarian principles. In civilian prisons and police stations, the ICRC visits people deprived of their freedom in connection with armed violence and political tensions.

  For more information please contact:
  João Paulo Charleaux, ICRC Brasilia, tel : +55 61 3248 0250 or +55 61 8122 0119
  Marçal Izard, ICRC Geneva, tel : +41 22 730 2458 or +41 79 217 3224