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Madrid Humanitarian Aid Summit: ICRC president proposes to take message further

20-12-1995 News Release 51

On his return from the Humanitarian Aid Summit held in Madrid on 14 December, ICRC President Cornelio Sommaruga welcomed the agreement reached by the major donor agencies of the United States and the European Union, UN agencies, the Red Cross and representatives of the NGO community. He proposed that endorsement of the Madrid Declaration be sought from other important donor countries such as Japan, Canada, Norway, Australia, Switzerland, the industrialized nations of South-East Asia and the Gulf States, and from all communities at war.

The Madrid summit was convened by Emma Bonino, European Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid, in response to the mounting frustration of humanitarian organizations which felt that their work was being used as a substitute for political action. The summit called for free access to all persons in need and respect for the independence and impartiality of humanitarian agencies, and demanded an end to the flagrant disregard currently shown for international humanitarian law.

In his address to the summit, Mr Sommaruga urged governments to take preventive and remedial action in crisis situations using the political means at their disposal, to comply with the Geneva Conventions and to enforce compliance in accordance with their commitments as signatory States.