A joint statement from the presidents of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies and the International Committee of the Red Cross on the occasion of World Red Cross Red Crescent Day 2009.
“All can, in one way or another, each in his own sphere and within his own limitations, do something to help the good work forward.” These words, written by Henry Dunant following the Battle of Solferino, embody the spirit of our International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement. This year, we mark the 150th anniversary of Solferino and the origins of our Movement by celebrating his belief that individuals have the power to make a difference.
Today, we launch the Our World. Your Move. campaign – an ambitious undertaking aimed at raising awareness of today’s Solferinos and the unprecedented challenges we all face, ranging from armed conflict and mass displacement to climate change and the global economic crisis. We have a collective responsibility to make our world a better place. It’s up to each of us, as individuals, to make a move and do something to help others. Young or old, we can all make a difference.
Over the past 150 years, the Red Cross Red Crescent has grown into the world’s largest humanitarian network, with tens of millions of well-trained volunteers responding to crises and developing local capacities across the globe. They are the living legacy of Henry Dunant and we can be proud indeed of the life-saving activities that are carried out by our dedicated volunteers and staff each day.
Yet, too often, the same people who respond to crises are themselves the victims of war or disaster. In order to continue to move the “good work forward”, we must empower communities to protect themselves from the preventable loss of life and livelihoods. We must also continue to foster a spirit of volunteerism at a local level in order to remain close to those impacted and to better understand and respond to their needs.
On 8 May, World Red Cross Red Crescent Day, and throughout 2009, we are calling on people everywhere to join us in taking action to help others.
The challenges are great and the needs many, yet the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement was created for times such as these – to inspire and encourage others to follow. As we mark the 150th anniversary of our humble beginnings on 24 June, let us take pride in knowing that we are all a part of one of the greatest human achievements of recent history. Let us be the voice of those who are suffering and tell the world they have a right to be heard, protected and assisted. This is a call for hope supported by action.
Juan Manuel Suárez del Toro
President of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies
President of the International Committee of the Red Cross