30th International Conference 2007: Resolution 2

30-11-2007 Resolution

Specific nature of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement in action and partnerships and the role of National Societies as auxiliaries to the public authorities in the humanitarian field

30th International Conference of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement, Geneva, Switzerland, 23-24 November 2007

The 30th International Conference of the Red Cross and Red Crescent,

acknowledging that strong partnerships between States, the components of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement (Movement) and other humanitarian actors, such as international organizations, non-governmental organizations and civil society, are essential to address effectively the needs of vulnerable people worldwide, in the spirit of the slogan of the Conference “Together for humanity”,

acknowledging the different mandates of the various components of the Movement,

recalling the Movement’s Fundamental Principle of independence as well as Articles 2.3, 3 and 4.3 of the Statutes of the Movement whereby National Societies are recognized by all governments as auxiliaries to the public authorities in the humanitarian field,

recalling Articles 24, 26 and 27 of the Geneva Convention for the Amelioration of the Condition of the Wounded and Sick in Armed Forces in the Field, of 12 August 1949, Articles 24 and 25 of the Geneva Convention for the Amelioration of the Condition of Wounded, Sick and Shipwrecked Members of Armed Forces at Sea, of 12 August 1949, as well as Article 63 of the Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War, of 12 August 1949,

noting the resolution of the General Assembly of the United Nations (A/RES/49/2 of 27 October 1994) which recalls that National Societies are recognized by their respective governments as auxiliaries to the public authorities in the humanitarian field on the basis of the Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949,

recalling the Agenda for Humanitarian Action adopted at the 28th International Conference, whereby States, recognizing the importance of the independent and auxiliary role of National Societies, agreed, inter alia, to negotiate clearly defined roles and responsibilities with their respective National Societies in risk-reduction and disaster-management activities, as well as in public-health, development and social activities,

recalling Resolution 1 of the 28th International Conference which welcomed the study carried out by the International Federation of National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (International Federation) as Auxiliaries to the Public Authorities in the Humanitarian Field and contained the concept of the “characteristics of a balanced relationship,” and noting the work done by the International Federation in consultation with the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) pursuant to that resolution,

recognizing that the cooperation and dialogue of National Societies with their respective governments includes the key role and responsibilities of National Societies in the fields of promotion, dissemination and implementation of international humanitarian law,

recognizing that National Societies represent reliable partners for national and local public authorities that provide service through their diverse volunteer base and their unique capacity to mobilize human and material resources at the community level,

noting with appreciation that the Council of Delegates, in its Resolution 3 of 2007, endorsed the concept of a toolbox for use by National Societies when concluding partnership arrangements, including those relevant to auxiliary relationships,

reaffirming the obligation of all the components of the Movement to act at all times in conformity with the Fundamental Principles, the Statutes of the Movement and the rules governing the use of the emblems and to take full account of the relevant Movement policies,

acknowledging that the autonomy of National Societies and their commitment to neutrality and impartial assistance provide the best available means to gain the confidence of all in order to have access to those in need,

recalling Article 2.4 of the Statutes of the Movement adopted by the 25th International Conference of the Red Cross at Geneva in 1986, as amended in 1995 and 2006, which stipulates that “the States shall at all times respect the adherence by all the components of the Movement to the Fundamental Principles”,

1. reaffirms that it is the primary responsibility of States and their respective public authorities to provide humanitarian assistance to vulnerable persons on their respective territories and that the primary purpose of National Societies as auxiliaries to the public authorities in the humanitarian field is to supplement them in the fulfilment of this responsibility;

2. calls upon National Societies and their respective public authorities to consolidate a balanced relationship with clear and reciprocal responsibilities, maintaining and enhancing a permanent dialogue at all levels within the agreed framework for humanitarian action;

3. recognizes that the public authorities and the National Societies as auxiliaries enjoy a specific and distinctive partnership, entailing mutual responsibilities and benefits, and based on international and national laws, in which the national public authorities and the National Society agree on the areas in which the National Society supplements or substitutes for public humanitarian services; the National Society must be able to deliver its humanitarian services at all times in conformity with the Fundamental Principles, in particular those of neutrality and independence, and with its other obligations under the Statutes of the Movement as agreed by States at the International Conference;

4. emphasizes that

a. National Societies as auxiliaries to the public authorities in the humanitarian field have a duty to consider seriously any request by their public authorities to carry out humanitarian activities within their mandate,

b. States must refrain from requesting National Societies to perform activities which are in conflict with the Fundamental Principles or the Statutes of the Movement or its mission, that National Societies have the duty to decline any such request and underlines the need for the public authorities to respect such decisions by the National Societies;

5. invites National Societies and governments to clarify and consolidate the areas in which National Societies as auxiliaries cooperate at all levels with the public authorities;

6. stresses that the National Society, whilst acknowledging that its personnel and assets are provided to the medical services of the State’s armed forces in accordance with Article 26 of the First Geneva Convention of 1949 and are thus subject to military laws and regulations, must respect the Fundamental Principles, including that of neutrality, and at all times maintain its autonomy and ensure that it is clearly distinguishable from military and other governmental bodies;

7. invites the International Federation and the ICRC, in consultation with States and National Societies, to make available and further develop relevant information material for National Societies, the public authorities and other interested bodies, including guidelines, legal advice and best practices, in support of partnerships between National Societies and the public authorities in the humanitarian field.