International Red Cross and Red Crescent Day 2024: Organization demands protection of humanitarian and health workers

Geneva/ New Delhi: Org honours volunteers and staff for keeping humanity alive, sometimes paying highest price in the process

BY | Wednesday, 8 May, 2024
(PC: @PalestineRCS/ X)

The 161st International Red Cross and Red Crescent Day is being observed today in honour of founder Henry Dunant who was born on 8th May 1828. This year’s theme is “Keeping Humanity Alive” which the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) explains is “a call to celebrate those who give their time, and sometimes their lives, to ease the suffering of others and protect their inherent human dignity. In a time of unprecedented crises and loss, it’s also a poignant reminder of the daily dangers faced by humanitarian workers and our collective obligation to ensure their life-saving work is fully respected and protected.”

IFRC points out that since September 2023, a total of 28 Red Cross and Red Crescent staff members and volunteers have lost their lives in the line of duty.  On the occasion, the Organization demands “with even greater force that humanitarian and health workers are fully protected and get the best possible care for their physical and mental well-being, wherever they are working.”

The joint message of IFRC President Kate Forbes, Standing Commission Chair Mercedes Babé and President of International Committee of Red Cross (ICRC) Mirjana Spoljaric states, “In a time of polarization and the dehumanization of various groups, including migrants, neighbouring communities, and even first aid workers, our Movement reinforces the basic principle of humanity, especially in the places where it is most essential to keeping Humanity alive.”

It emphasizes the need to respect and uphold international humanitarian law which “reflects the Movement’s core values and is essential for ensuring the well-being and dignity of all people in need.”

The organization honours the Red Cross and Red Crescent volunteers and staff for their service, bravery and sacrifice and for keeping humanity alive, sometimes paying the highest price in the process.

(PC: @RedCrossUkraine/ X)

In his message, Dr. Anant Pandhare, Vice Chairman of Indian Red Cross Society (IRCS), extended greetings to all members and volunteers and said, “Your courage, compassion, and commitment to serving others inspire us all to strive for a world where every individual is treated with dignity, respect, and empathy.”

Dr Pandhare stated that the theme “Keeping Humanity Alive” resonates profoundly with the ongoing challenges and triumphs we face as a global community. In the face of adversity, conflict, and natural disasters, the Red Cross continues to be a beacon of hope, compassion, and resilience, tirelessly working to alleviate suffering and protect the most vulnerable, he added.

On the occasion, he called for all to uphold the fundamental principles of the Red Cross Movement: humanity, impartiality, neutrality, independence, voluntary service, unity, and universality- in the mission to alleviate human suffering and promote peace, health, and dignity for all.

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