World Red Cross Red Crescent Day, 8 May 2003 – Joint message from the Presidents of the ICRC and the Federation
In a joint message to mark World Red Cross Red Crescent Day, the presidents of the ICRC and the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies have called for human dignity – a right for everyone – to be protected. The challenges facing the Movement include war, natural disasters and disease. They said the commitment of the ICRC, Federation and the 179 national societies to fight stigma and discrimination "celebrates our common humanity".
We celebrate world Red Cross Red Crescent Day in a world that is cautious and apprehensive of the future. Yet we mark this day with the certainty that our aims and ideals, expressed through the founding principles of our Movement, are as relevant today as they have always been.
The challenges are immense. Human dignity is under threat on many fronts: from war, from disease and from disaster. The human cost mounts and the cameras move on. Images of wrecked homes and shattered lives remain with us as intangible memories, but for the victims the suffering continues.
Our message at this year's International Conference of the Red Cross Red Crescent Movement will be that human dignity, to which everyone has a right, must be protected. This challenge may appear insurmountable - millions affected by AIDS, many still suffering in the midst of conflict, poverty denying access to the very basics of a dignified life - but we have mechanisms to respond.
International Humanitarian Law, when properly applied, affords vital protection to the lives and dignity of the victims of conflict. The laws of disaster response give citizens the protection they deserve during natural and man-made calamities. And the commitment of the Red Cross Red Crescent to fight stigma and discrimination celebrates our common humanity, and urges us all to do more to embrace the forgotten, the hurt, the vulnerable.
Our Movement is responding, hour by hour, as the world changes. Today, and every day, we should be proud of what we have achieved, and face the challenges that lie ahead, strengthened by our founding principles.
There can be no greater c hallenge than protecting human dignity when it is at greatest risk. There can be no greater guide in meeting the challenge than those same principles.
Dr Jakob Kellenberger
International Committee of the Red CrossWhat are the Red Cross / Red Crescent Principles ?
Don Juan Manuel Suárez del Toro Rivero
International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies