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May 8, 2002 - Joint message for the World Red Cross and Red Crescent Day

08-05-2002 News Release 02/28

Joint message from the Presidents of the International Federation and the ICRC

Today, we mark World Red Cross and Red Crescent Day; a time to remember and a time to reflect.
We remember the achievements of the past year. The ability to provide relief to the most vulnerable in every corner of the world through our volunteers and members, to provide comfort and aid during natural disasters or during times of war. But we remember not just the major events. We remember the little things we do every day: helping the elderly, teaching first aid, providing vaccinations, reaching out to the marginalized and reuniting separated families. We are an humanitarian network, made up of ordinary people who do extraordinary work.
We need to reflect, to spend some time thinking about what still needs to be done. There are many who without the support of the Movement would not have shelter or a meal. There are others who are innocently caught in the crossfire of conflict who look to us for help, and for whom the fundamental principles underlying the Geneva Conventions and their Additional Protocols should be fully respected.
Our volunteers and staff have been to the forefront in assisting the vulnerable in the remotest corners of the planet as well as in the midst of crowded cities.
But there is always more to do. We must do the utmost to prevent conflicts and to fight poverty and injustice. We must continue to seek that International Humanitarian Law is known and applied, regardless of what designation a particular situation may give rise to.
This year the voices of our 97 million volunteers and members will unite to halt stigma and discrimination, particularly as it affects people with AIDS and their families. Our message is " Take a look. Stigma Kills " . As we try to protect and cherish life , each and every one of us must dismantle the barriers caused by stigma, break down the barriers in the mind and reach towards a more tolerant tomorrow.
Jakob Kellenberger, President,ICRC

Juan Manuel Suárez DelToro Rivero, President, International Federation