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Namibia: Red Cross exhibition marks 60th anniversary of Geneva Conventions

12-08-2009 News Release 09/156

Windhoek (ICRC) – At a ceremony held today, exactly 60 years after the Geneva Conventions were signed, Namibia's prime minister, Nahas Angula, declared open a dual photo exhibition, Our World – At War and Humanity in War, at the National Gallery of Namibia.

Mr Angula expressed his government's delight at being'' part of this historic worldwide campaign and commemoration.'' The Geneva Conventions are the cornerstone of international humanitarian law, also known as the law of armed conflict.

Thomas Merkelbach, the head of the regional delegation of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) in Harare, which covers the organization's activities in Namibia, noted in his opening remarks that, in accordance with its international mandate,'' the ICRC is working with States in the Southern African Development Community and around the world to improve adherence to and respect for international humanitarian law.'' In addition, he pointed out that public opinion has played a significant role in ensuring that impunity for serious violations of international humanitarian law can no longer be taken for granted.

Dorkas Kapembe-Haiduwa, the secretary-general of the Namibia Red Cross, informed the audience in her welcome address that the legacy of Henry Dunant, who founded the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement, lives on in the activities of her National Society, which has continued to respond to the needs of communities. She stated that the Namibia Red Cross had recently provided aid for'' over 40,000 households in flood-prone regions of Kavango and Caprivi, while 6,600 people benefited from our HIV/AIDS home-based care project.'' These results were achieved with support from partners both locally and internationally.

The exhibition that opened today is part of a series of events organized by the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the battle of Solferino, which led to the Movement's creation, the 90th anniversary of the founding of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, and the 60th anniversary of the signing of the Geneva Conventions.

  For further information, please contact:
  Adebayo Olowo-Ake, ICRC Harare, tel: +263 4 790 268/9 or +263 912 240 960