Every year on 19 August, the international community marks World Humanitarian Day in recognition of aid workers who lost their lives in the course of duty. It is also a day to celebrate humanity and the spirit that inspires people to help others who are in need, even in difficult and dangerous situations.
World Humanitarian Day 2019 is set to celebrate Women Humanitarians and their undying contribution in making the world a better place. Women make up a large number of those who risk their own lives to save others. They are often the first to respond and the last to leave.
The South African Red Cross Society joins the United Nations call to honour Women who have tirelessly improved countless lives, showcasing incredible strength along the way. These women deserve to be celebrated. They are needed today as much as ever to strengthen the global humanitarian response.
The Red Cross and Red Crescent are charities that work to help people in crisis all over the world. Support is offered in a diverse variety of ways, from emergency help and medical support in times of crisis such as war, terrorism or natural disaster to help those dealing with loneliness and supporting victims of modern slavery and trafficking.
Thanks to our principles and unique role under the Geneva Conventions, we’re allowed to cross borders and reach areas that other aid organisations cannot. This means we can even help people in some of the most dangerous places on earth.
The four Geneva Conventions of 1949, the two Additional Protocols of 1977 and the Additional Protocol of 2005 (https://www.eda.admin.ch/eda/en/home/foreign-policy/international-law/international-humanitarian-law/geneva-conventions.html) forms the core of international humanitarian law. They protect persons who are not, or no longer, participating in hostilities.
“The Second World War has shown that the Geneva Conventions would be incomplete if they did not also ensure the safety of civilian populations.” — Swiss federal minister Max Petitpierre at the opening of the Geneva diplomatic conference, April 21, 1949.
The Red Cross has a special mandate to promote International Humanitarian Law. These ‘rules of war’ protect victims of armed conflict and limit the extremes of war, helping former enemies to live together and preventing never-ending cycles of violence.
As auxiliary to the Government, SARCS mandate is to compliment Government’s efforts in the humanitarian arena by serving the interest of the vulnerable, as per the South African Red Cross Society and Legal Protection of Certain Emblems Act, Number 10 of 2007.