Together, let’s spread the flame of Humanity and believe in the power of kindness
by Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies
12:48pm 25th Mar, 2022
A joint message from Francesco Rocca, President of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), Mercedes Babé, Standing Commission Chair, and Peter Maurer, President of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).
“Tutti Fratelli!” We are brothers and sisters, exclaimed the women of Castiglione after the devastating battle of Solferino in 1859.
With these very words, they sparked the flame of Humanity among the wounded and dying soldiers, while providing them with care and assistance, regardless of which side they had fought for. Their courage, compassion and kindness in saving lives and alleviating suffering amid the chaos of war inspired Henry Dunant, whose birthday anniversary and founding legacy of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement we celebrate today.
In the last two years, crises and disasters have spared almost no one. The COVID-19 pandemic, armed conflicts and violence, the climate crisis and climate-related disasters, environmental degradation, food insecurity and massive population displacements are hitting the world’s most vulnerable groups hard, and many lack the means and resources to adapt.
Against this backdrop, indifference, misinformation and hate speech are creeping into the common consciousness, which is fracturing and polarizing societies and leading to people being rejected and dehumanized.
Even those who champion the basic principles and rules of protection and assistance are not spared, with those who strive to provide care and support to people in need finding themselves the target of unjust and sometimes violent attacks. When the flame of Humanity flickers, we must be alarmed and we must act!
This 8 May is an opportunity for the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement, our staff and 14 million volunteers worldwide to unite in our unwavering commitment to a common humanity. We also reaffirm our Fundamental Principles, which are at the heart of everything we do to assist people in need.
Our commitment mandates us to advocate for the world’s most vulnerable people, wherever they may be. When the outbreak of war or a disaster diverts the attention or generosity of the public, the media, public authorities and donors, it is to the disadvantage of millions of people affected by a protracted, forgotten or invisible humanitarian crisis.
Our Fundamental Principles carry the flame of Humanity across the world and its divides. They help to refocus the world’s attention on all people in distress. They are the basis of our solidarity with the Red Cross and Red Crescent volunteers and staff in action around the world. On this 8 May, we commend their admirable work and unwavering commitment as first responders in their communities.
Together, let’s spread the flame of Humanity and believe in the power of kindness.
People affected by crises everywhere deserve support. (IFRC)
The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) calls for solidarity with people affected by crises everywhere as the response to the conflict in Ukraine shows the way.
The support from people and donors around the world demonstrates what is possible and illustrates the good practice essential in any humanitarian crisis. At the same time, the massive differences depending on where a crisis occurs and who it affects have been thrown into stark relief.
Secretary General of the IFRC, Jagan Chapagain, says:
"The immense suffering experienced by so many people in Ukraine is unimaginable for some. Unfortunately, for many others around the world the loss and pain are all too familiar. In Syria for example, 11 years after the conflict began needs in the country are at an all-time high. In Tonga tens of communities are still to recover from the devastating volcanic eruption in January. In the horn of Africa millions of people are currently experiencing one of the most dramatic food crises in years, away from the eyes of the world. These are but a few examples. We call on donors and partners to ensure that we can support everyone in need, no matter where, no matter who."
The situation in Ethiopia, Somalia and Kenya is critical as these countries are facing a fourth consecutive drought along with the impacts of COVID-19, conflict in the region and escalating food prices due to heavy reliance on wheat imports from Ukraine and Russia. With 14 million people currently in need of urgent food assistance - a number that is expected to reach 20 million this year -- IFRC has launched emergency appeals to provide life-saving assistance. This also includes longer term support for sustainable livelihoods adapted to the increasing negative effects of climate change to help strengthen communities' resilience.
Every day, in every community around the world, Red Cross and Red Crescent volunteers continue to respond with an impartial needs-based approach to people affected by crises everywhere, regardless of their status, nationality, ethnicity, religion or any other criteria. While National Societies are working hard to provide the humanitarian services necessary in Ukraine and surrounding countries, it is critical to ensure continuing focus on other crises as well as in preparing for those that will happen next.
"IFRC with its network of 192 National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies is well placed to channel solidarity and mobilize support to respond to crises and disasters that are happening concurrently around the world. But to be able to do this, needs-based support and funding is essential," concluded Mr Chapagain. IFRC currently has 29 emergency appeals open for big and complex disasters.
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