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 Press release - Press Release (IFRC)

 Press release date: 10.05.2006

 

 

xx/06
Geneva, 5 May 2006

Red Cross Red Crescent Day pays tribute to volunteers


Every year, the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement relies on its unique network of more than 90 million volunteers to provide vital assistance and support to over 275 million people worldwide.
These humanitarian heroes, who sometimes risk their lives and often make considerable personal sacrifices in order to help others, deserve the international community's thanks and recognition for their devotion and tireless efforts.
On 8 May, 2006, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, the International Committee of the Red Cross, and the Movement's 183 National Societies will celebrate annual World Red Cross Red Crescent Day by paying tribute to the millions of volunteers who provide universal assistance to people in need.
"Volunteers are the backbone of our work," said Juan M. Suarez del Toro, the president of the International Federation. "They symbolize the power of humanity and without them, we would not be able to carry out our life-saving emergency activities or fulfill our day-to-day objective of protecting human dignity."
Suarez del Toro added that the efforts of each and every volunteer had a "very real impact" on communities, while the power of their combined efforts enabled the Movement to "reach beyond borders, bringing help wherever it is needed".
The president of the International Committee of the Red Cross, Jakob Kellenberger, said that volunteers also played a key role in ensuring humanitarian protection and assistance for the victims of conflict and armed violence.
"In many dangerous conflicts around the world, the ICRC would find it difficult to carry out its work to protect and assist civilian victims, help the wounded, put separated families back together or visit detainees, without the active support of volunteers. Their local knowledge and involvement, and above all their courage, often makes the difference," Kellenberger said.
Around the world, Red Cross and Red Crescent volunteers are active in a diverse range of activities, from alerting the public to the danger of landmines in Afghanistan to fighting the stigma and discrimination related to HIV/AIDS in southern Africa.
They also regularly come to the aid of millions of people affected by natural and man-made disasters, such as the Pakistan earthquake, the Darfur crisis and hurricanes in the Americas, while providing ongoing support to the survivors of the Asia tsunami.
"Volunteers are the messengers and implementers of our humanitarian mission to millions of vulnerable people around the world," said Kellenberger and Suarez del Toro said in a joint statement marking World Red Cross Red Crescent Day.
"They reflect the global diversity of the Red Cross and Red Crescent and embody the Movement's universal commitment that humanity must prevail in the face of conflict or catastrophe," they concluded.

For further information, or to set up interviews (ISDN lines available in Geneva), please contact:
At the International Federation in Geneva:

Sian Bowen, Manager, Media Service Tel: + 41 22 730 4428 / +41 79 217 3388
Anna Nelson, Media Officer Tel: + 41 22 730 4381 / +41 79 724 2046
Media Service, duty phone Tel: + 41 79 416 38 81

At the International Committee of the Red Cross in Geneva:

Ian Piper, Senior Media Relations Officer Tel: + 41 22 730 2063 / +41 79 217 3216

The International Federation, Red Cross and Red Crescent National Societies, and the International Committee of the Red Cross together constitute the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement.



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