The world Red Cross and Red Crescent day is celebrated on the 8th day of May every year. This is the day that marks the birthday of the founder of Red Cross, Henry Dunant. The year 2016 marks their 51 years in service of helping humanity and with each celebration there is a reflection on how the Red Cross principles make people retain their livelihoods and human dignity while faced with disaster, conflict or crisis. These humanitarian societies are local and international yet impartial and independent, available to serve everyone without prejudice.
The president of the international federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent societies Mr. Tadateru Konoe together with Mr. Peter Maurer who is the president of the international committee of the Red Cross issued a statement regarding the 2016 celebration. According to the statement recognition is given to the half a million staff members together with the over 17m volunteers who aid the society in achieving their commitments to the humanity each waking day. This commitment is founded in being there before, during and after a health crisis, conflict or disaster. The two presidents cite the privilege they have had in serving through the diversity and strength that the movement fosters on first hand and learning of the presence of all the 190 national Red Cross and Red Crescent societies as well as the ICRC and IFRC worldwide. They pledge on being everywhere for everyone as their mantra for the movement and to live it.
The fundamental principles of the Red Cross and Red Crescent movements
Humanity: The Red Cross and Red Crescent movements were born out of the desire to bring assistance to the humanity without discriminating the wounded in a battlefield or otherwise. It aims, in its national and international capacity to alleviate and prevent human suffering worldwide. They aim at preserving and protecting life, health and promoting respect for the human life. This way, the movement endeavors to promote friendship, mutual understanding, cooperation and a possible lasting peace.
Impartiality: the movement does not offer their aid in any discriminatory manner regarding race, nationality, class, political affiliation or religious beliefs. They forge forward in alleviating suffering of individuals based on the need and the urgency of the distress at hand.
Neutrality: the movement does not take sides in any hostilities, political affiliations, controversies whether religious, racial or ideologically based.
Independence: the Red Cross and Red Crescent movements remain independent. However the society’s auxiliaries on a national level are bound by the laws of their respective countries in their operations although they still have to maintain their autonomy in order to act in accord with the movement’s fundamentals.
Voluntary service: This movement is founded on voluntary principles without hidden agendas of self gain in any way.
Unity: unity is fostered in the fact that only one Red Cross and Red Crescent movement can exist in each country and it should be open to all while dispensing its services throughout the expanse of its designated territory.
Universality: for this movement to enjoy and continue to enjoy the confidence it does from all quarters, it remains impartial. This means that they are non-partisan to any controversies that may be racial, political, ideological or religiously instigated.
These principles are seen all over in how the movement does it work and how they are there for everyone without prejudice.
The fact that crisis seem to be on the rise due to the many conflicts in today’s world, the need for humanitarian services also is on the rise and will continue on that trend as noted by the president of Red Cross and Red crescent. This rise is seen from the troubled health crisis, migration and displacements, the protracted conflicts, increased number of natural disasters due to climate changes, continued nuclear and technology threats etc. this means that the movement needs to strengthen its local networks capacity for them to be everywhere for everyone. With this in mind the movement celebrates its dedicated staff and volunteers as they mark the world Red Cross and Red Crescent day on may 8 2016. The movement also wishes to reflect during this day on how they can work with governments, individuals, and communities in order to support the people when they are in need, build resilience, improve accountability and its services, and mitigate risk.