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Henry Dunant medals awarded

26-11-1997 News Release 97/32

The International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement awarded its highest decoration to 24 people, 22 of them posthumously, on 25 November. The Henry Dunant medals are given to recognize and reward outstanding services and acts of great devotion to the cause of the Movement. 

Among those honoured are:

- eight volunteers of the Democratic Republic of Congo Red Cross who died in the line of duty near the refugee camp of Kibumba, near Goma, in June and September 1996;

- six ICRC delegates murdered in Chechnya in December 1996;

- three ICRC delegates killed in Burundi in June 1996; 

- two Uganda Red Cross workers killed in shooting incidents in a refugee camp in Koboko in June and October 1996; 

- an Angolan Red Cross worker whose vehicle was ambushed in January 1996;

- a Cambodian ICRC worker who was killed by armed robbers in January 1997.

The medals were presented to the recipients and/or to their representatives by H.M. Queen Sofia of Spain and the certificates by H.R.H. Princess Margriet of the Netherlands, Chairman of the Standing Commission of the Red Cross and the Red Crescent. Of the 24 recipients, 21 volunteers and delegates were killed in the line of duty. Before asking the assembly to rise to observe a minute of silence to pay homage to their courage, H.R.H. Princess Margriet described the ceremony as " a celebration of the humanitarian spirit that has driven the medalists to devote themselves beyond the call of duty to the c ause that we all serve. "  

The ceremony was held in Seville, Spain, at the opening of the Council of Delegates, which is composed of representatives from 175 Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, the ICRC and the International Federation.

 The recipients are the following :  

*Mrs. Véronique Ahouanmenou, former President of the Benin Red Cross, former member of the Federation's Executive Council and of the Standing Commission, received her award for nearly 40 years of service to the Movement and her dedication to the advancement of African women.

*Mr. Enzo Boletti, former Mayor of Castiglione delle Stiviere, the village where the wounded soldiers of Solferino were cared for, founded the International Red Cross Museum in his city in 1959, the centenary of the battle of Solferino and of the birth of the idea of the Movement.

 Henry Dunant medals were awarded posthumously to:  

*Dr. Ahmed A. Elsherif, former Secretary General of the Libyan Red Crescent from 1975 until his death in 1995, former member of the Federation's Executive Council, and former Federation Vice-President, was highly respected for his dedication, integrity and wisdom.

Six ICRC delegates were brutally murdered in their sleep by armed men in the ICRC hospital compound in Novy Atagi, Chechnya. They were:

*Ms. Fernanda Calado, from Seville, Spain

*Mr. Hans Elkerbout, from the Netherlands,

*Ms. Nancy Malloy, from Canada,

*Ms. In gebjorg Foss, from Norway,

*Ms. Gunnhild Myklebust, from Norway,

*Ms. Sheryl Thayer, from New Zealand.

Three ICRC delegates were killed when their vehicle was ambushed in the province of Cibitoke, in Burundi.

*Mr. Cédric Martin, Swiss national,

*Mr. Reto Neuenschwander, Swiss national,

*Mr. Juan Ruffino, Italian national.

National Society workers and volunteers paid a heavy price in carrying out their humanitarian mission.

*Mr. Herculano Tchipindi was ambushed, with three other Angolan Red Cross workers, by armed men who shot at their vehicle, killing him. Mr. Tchipindi was an employee of the International Federation.

Two Ugandan Red Cross workers, employed by the International Federation, were both killed in armed incidents in Koboko.

*Mr. Luiji Apata, a watchman in the Afranga refugee camp, was killed in a night assault by armed men on the camp.

*Mr. Amin Booyi Andama, was shot, along with a number of refugees, during an armed attack.

Three Democratic Republic of Congo Red Cross (formerly Zairean Red Cross) volunteers were killed in a accident when their vehicle hit a mine on the road to Kibumba refugee camp, near Goma; 31 other volunteers were also injured in the incident. They were employed by the International Federation. They were :

*Mr. Aimé Amuli

*Mr. Dieudonné Budogo

*Mr. Djuma Sebasore

Three Democratic Republic of Congo Red Cross (formerly Zairean Red Cross) volunteers, employed by the Federation, were killed when the warehouse at Kibumba camp was attacked by armed men. They were :

*Mr. Bahozi Kaba ka

*Mr. Ilunfa Sebastien

*Mr. Mafuta Nzangamya

Two Democratic Republic of Congo Red Cross (formerly Zairean Red Cross) were both killed in Uvira in October 1996.

*Mr. Déogratias Kitungano Bisahi was stabbed and shot while treating wounded in a health post.

*Mr. Bernard Umba Kanonge died during the looting of the town, when armed men broke into his house, presumably to obtain the keys to the ICRC sub-delegation, where he was employed as administrative staff.

A Cambodian employee of the ICRC died in the north-west of the country after armed men shot him to steal his motorbike.

*Mr. Chin Chun was a well-known figure in the area of Thmar-Pouc, delivering Red Cross messages from relatives which families had not heard from in decades. He was the father of five children.