World Red Cross Red Crescent Day – 8 May 2005
A message from the presidents of the International Committee of the Red Cross and the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies
This year began with the realization that there had been terrible loss of life caused by the tsunami that struck a number of countries around the Indian Ocean. Red Cross and Red Crescent societies in these countries mobilized immediately to help the victims, supported within a short time by other National Societies around the world, the International Federation and the ICRC.
The response demonstrated the strength and potential of the Red Cross and Red Crescent network and the central importance of our volunteers whose actions helped save many lives and brought comfort to those who lost family and friends in the disaster.
It is with pride that we celebrate the individual commitment of volunteers everywhere on this special day. Their bravery and dedication is a moving expression of our Movement's commitment to " protect human dignity, " the theme of the last Int ernational Conference of the Red Cross and Red Crescent, and the basis of our ongoing Agenda for Humanitarian Action.
Today is also an appropriate moment to reaffirm our commitment in our Agenda for Humanitarian Action to tackle four specific issues:
- people missing in armed conflicts and the plight of their families
- reducing the risk and impact of disasters
- reducing the stigma
- and discrimination faced by people living with HIV/AIDS and other diseases.
The crisis in Darfur, now the ICRC's largest operation, is another example of the Movement working together. Individual National Societies and the Federation are supporting the Sudanese Red Crescent and the ICRC in their determination to provide assistance and protection to people whose lives have been threatened by violence and fear.
Wherever we are active, recognition by governments of the importance of neutral and independent humanitarian action and respect for international humanitarian law are essential. Such recognition and respect, together with the seven Fundamental Principles of the Red Cross and Red Crescent, guarantees our independence and is the basis of our continuing mission to protect human dignity.
President of the International Committee of the Red Cross
Juan Manuel Suárez del Toro
President of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies