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Brazil: ICRC to step up its humanitarian work

27-03-2008 News Release 08/58

Brasília (ICRC) – The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) intends to expand its programmes in Brazil so as to meet the humanitarian needs arising from violence.

On a recent trip to Brasília, Saõ Paulo and Río de Janeiro, Ángela Gussing, ICRC head of operations for Latin America and the Caribbean, traveling from headquarters in Geneva, attended a series of meetings with political, military and police officials, and with representatives of civil society, to discuss the ICRC's plans.

" All the participants were receptive to what we had to say and agreed to increase their cooperation with us, " said Ms Gussing. " It is important for us to ensure that the authorities understand the strictly humanitarian nature of our activities and the neutral and impartial manner in which we work. I believe we have put this message across successfully. "

One focus of the ICRC's programmes will be to provide training for first-aid workers who are active in the most violent neighbourhoods of Río de Janeiro. The aim is to help improve people's access to emergency care if and when needed.

The ICRC also intends to visit places of detention and hold in-depth discussions with the police authorities. In addition, it will strengthen its cooperation with the Brazilian Red Cross by helping it to carry out assistance programmes for people and communities affected by violence.

Set up in 1864 in Geneva, Switzerland, the ICRC is an international humanitarian organization that is present in 80 countries, where it provides assistance and protection for the victims of armed conflict and other situations of violence.

The ICRC has maintained a permanent presence in Brazil since 1991. One of its main activities in the country is ensuring observance of human rights norms applicable t o police work. To that end, it has provided training for over 1,000 police instructors throughout the country.

 For further 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 2558 or ++ 41 79 217 3224