31st International Conference of the Red Cross and Red Crescent

Bern, Press release, 29.11.2011

President of the Swiss Confederation Micheline Calmy-Rey, President of the ICRC Jakob Kellenberger and President of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies Tadateru Konoé opened the 31st International Conference of the Red Cross and Red Crescent in Geneva on 28 November. The aim of the conference is to strengthen international humanitarian law and humanitarian action. The conference will last until 1 December.

The conference is held every four years and is the highest deliberative authority of the international Red Cross and Red Crescent movement. It is an opportunity for members of the movement and States parties to the Geneva Convention to examine humanitarian questions of common interest together and to define guidelines for the movement's activities in the next four years. The strengthening of international humanitarian law and of humanitarian action and the key role played by national societies will be the central issues in the discussions at the conference. 

At this event Switzerland will present the main objectives and priorities of its action in the humanitarian area, where the goal is to improve protection of conflict victims. The fact that the conference is being held in Geneva enables Switzerland to reaffirm its role as host state of numerous international organisations and conferences as well as its contribution to international cooperation in the humanitarian domain. 

In her opening speech, President of the Swiss Confederation Micheline Calmy-Rey stressed that nowadays conflict not only take place on distant battlefields but also often in the midst of inhabited areas and that civilian populations are increasingly suffering from the dramatic consequences. Promotion of rapid and unimpeded humanitarian access is seen as a priority. "In modern armed conflicts, securisation and maintaining access in order to protect civilians are becoming increasingly difficult." 

Mrs Calmy-Rey also pointed out that mechanisms to implement international humanitarian law must be strengthened in order to put a stop to violations. She emphasised that this was an issue that concerns not only states but also non-government actors.  

Every four years, the International Conference of the Red Cross and the Red Crescent brings together the members of the movement - the National Red Cross and Red Crescent societies, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent societies - and the States parties to the Geneva Conventions of 1949. A large number of representatives of international and non-governmental organisations also participate in the conference as observers or invited guests. 


Further information:

International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC)
Geneva Conventions
Speech of the President of the Swiss Confederation, Micheline Calmy-Rey (fr)


Address for enquiries:

Information FDFA
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Tel.: +41 58 462 31 53
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E-Mail: info@eda.admin.ch


Publisher:

Federal Department of Foreign Affairs