A TIME FOR HUMANITY TO PREVAIL
MESSAGE FROM THE INTERNATIONAL COMMITTEE OF THE RED CROSS
Geneva (ICRC) - Since the attacks of September 11 in the United States which
negated the most basic principles of humanity, people all around the world share
a sense of uncertainty, a feeling that what is most precious to us all ? life
and dignity ? is under threat. Thousands of Afghan men, women and children have
once again abandoned their homes over the past few days
in an elusive search for safety. And in dozens of countries in Africa, the Americas,
Asia, the Middle East and Europe, the number of people for whom armed violence
is an inescapable reality runs into the hundreds of thousands.
The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) strives to protect and
assist all people affected by armed conflict wherever they are, without any
distinction based on religion, race or nationality. It does this whatever the
reasons for armed violence, its only criteria being humanitarian: what people
need to preserve life and a measure of dignity.
To remain at the victims' side is the aim of the ICRC and its partners in the
International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement. Working out of more than
two hundred offices worldwide, the ICRC steadfastly pursues this goal. Despite
the temporary withdrawal of the organization's expatriate staff from Afghanistan,
one thousand local Afghan employees and their colleagues from the Afghan Red
Crescent Society are continuing to carry out humanitarian work in the country,
particularly in the medical field.
The purpose and the essence of international humanitarian law is to minimize
the effects of war on people not taking part in the hostilities, and to protect
their lives and physical integrity. Those engaged in armed hostilities must
maintain a firm stance against acts that indiscriminately inflict physical and
mental suffering. These fundamental principles are the common heritage of all
nations and all civilizations.
Humanity is the founding principle of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent
Movement. At a time when the fabric of human society risks being torn asunder
by outrageous acts of violence, the ICRC and the entire Red Cross and Red Crescent
Movement stand ready to do their utmost to ensure that humanity prevails.