Lebanon News

Red Cross urges action against conflict

BEIRUT: The Lebanese Red Cross (LDC) participated in the global launch on Friday of the latest campaign by the International Red Cross (ICRC) and Red Crescent Movement.

The "Our world. Your move" campaign intends to give greater prominence to victims of war and natural disasters, and to encourage people around the world to take proactive action against armed conflict. "This campaign ... is a call to action. It's about engaging people in the spirit of volunteerism and empowering everyone to make a difference in the world around us," said Juan Manuel Suarez del Toro, President of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) in a statement.

The launch coincides with the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Solferino, Italy, which prompted Swiss national Henry Dunant to create the Red Cross. It also falls on the 90th anniversary of the IFRC and shortly before the 60th anniversary of the Fourth Geneva Convention, which lays down international measures on the protection and treatment of civilians during war and was also pioneered by Dunant.

According to head of Delegation for the ICRC in Lebanon, Georges Comninos, the aim of the campaign is to "give millions of victims of armed conflict and natural disasters the right to express their ideas."

"Our world. Your move" also hopes to draw public attention to the challenges faced by the organization in times of armed conflict, Comninos said during a ceremony at the LRC headquarters in Beirut's Spears neighborhood. The ICRC is encouraging people in Lebanon and elsewhere who have experienced war to send in their testimonials.

As part of the LDC's involvement in the campaign, officials unveiled a white school bus that will tour Lebanon over the next two months, visiting areas particularly affected by conflict "where people want to have their voices heard," Comninos said.

The bus was only part of a national strategy formulated by the LDC, said its president, Sami al-Dahdah.

The bus, which left Beirut Friday morning carrying ICRC officials, publications and photos, "was a clear message that the Lebanese Red Cross will always be here for the most vulnerable in the country," head of delegation for IFRC Lebanon, Ole Johan Hauge said.

The LDC, established in 1945, provided 580,000 different services over the course of 2008, Dahdah said, reaching around

16 percent of the Lebanese population. In case of an emergency, dial the LDC on 140.





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