Last year, natural disasters and armed conflicts continued to demand a high level of mobilization of people and resources to come to the aid of people in need. The year also saw the historic adoption by States of an additional emblem for the Movement, the red crystal, to sit alongside the red cross and red crescent in the Geneva Conventions. The introduction of the red crystal will further highlight the principle of universality of our Movement.Today, 8 May, is an opportunity for all people around the world who work for the Red Cross and Red Crescent to take stock. It is also a time to reflect on the continuing, proven relevance and importance of our Fundamental Principles , which bind this vast and diverse network together. We would like in our message this year to focus on three of them: humanity, universality and voluntary service, because they have played such a vital role in the past year.
In field operations, the year demonstrated the strength of the Movement when its components work together. In the aftermath of the Pakistan earthquake, the ICRC, the International Federation and National Societies from around the world coordinated their action to bring medical help, shelter and essential supplies to those affected, in support of the emergency operation led by Pakistan Red Crescent staff and volunteers on the ground.
Pakistan was just one of many dozens of operations where the Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement, the world's largest humanitarian network, was seen in action. Whether fighting against the stigma of HIV/AIDS, or promoting international humanitarian law on the battlefield, its neutrality and impartiality were widely recognized.
One of our greatest strengths is the tens of millions of Red Cross and Red Crescent volunteers who are in direct contact with the people we help, at the most vital level - the community. Working at the forefront of our action, sometimes at the peril of their lives, they are the messengers and implementers of our humanitarian mission to millions of vulnerable people around the world They reflect the global diversity of the Red Cross and Red Crescent and embody the Movement’s universal commitment that humanity prevail in the face of conflict or catastrophe.
We would like to take this opportunity to call on all people of good will to join us, as volunteers, or as supporters, to promote, through action, the universal principles of humanity and voluntary service on which the Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement was founded.
Juan M. Suárez del Toro R.
President, International Federation
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