Violence in Aceh
The ICRC continues to support the Palang Merah Indonesia
(PMI) - Indonesian Red Cross Society - to assist displaced
persons in the province of Aceh. During the last year clashes
between the Indonesian military forces and the separatist
Free Aceh Movement (GAM) have caused the internal displacement
of the population. In a recent relief operation, hygiene kits,
sleeping mats, blankets, plastic sheeting and water tanks
were distributed to 820 families living in temporary shelter.
"This action benefited only a fraction of the total internally
displaced population in Aceh today," explains Syméon
Antoulas, ICRC deputy head of operations for South-East Asia
and the Pacific. "Although it is difficult to quantify
the phenomenon of displacement of the Acehrese due to the
ongoing turmoil, we are, together with the PMI, permanently
assessing the needs in order to meet them effectively."
During the coming weeks and months it is expected that further
assistance will be provided to both displaced persons and
residents. "This is the fifth consecutive year that we
are involved in supporting the PMI when such operations are
carried out," says Antoulas.
By the book
Following approval by the Ministry of Education in Azerbaijan,
the ICRC delegation in Baku published a textbook for students
in line with its pedagogical programme. Called My World, Your
World, this book is essentially based on texts from Azerbaijani
literature. The selected stories are meant to sensitize students
to humanitarian values, such as mutual respect, compassion
and acts of kindness. It also introduces children to basic
principles of the Movement and international humanitarian
law. Study sessions took place in schools of Baku and the
Quba region. On the completion of the pilot phase and feedback
from students and teachers, an updated version will be printed
in 2002. "The particularity of this book is that it will
help teachers give lessons by using new interactive methods.
This book will surely promote reforms within the Azerbaijani
educational system," said Rafig Gandilov, senior staff
of the Ministry of Education.
Guarding their bodies
Fifteen uniformed bodyguards from the Cambodia National Police
are undergoing two days of life-skill training organized by
the Red Cross. This course provides information on HIV/AIDS
and other STDs. A survey a few years ago showed that the two
groups with the highest prevalence of HIV/AIDS in Camobdia
were sex workers and the uniformed forces. In Cambodia, educational
and preventive information on HIV/AIDS is extremely limited.
Initially, this Red Cross initiative aimed to target the general
public, but it eventually narrowed its focus to the uniformed
forces. The project uses three strategies: education, advocacy
and home care. So far, 1,000 of the 2,000 special policemen
working as bodyguards for dignitaries and foreign visitors
have been trained by the Cambodian Red Cross.
Protecting refugees is our business
Given the current global crises, it can be safely assumed
that the number of refugees will sharply rise in the coming
months and perhaps years, and the responsibility to protect
refugees is now everyone's business. Humanitarian actors have
a responsibility to understand what protection is available
and how their presence has a protective impact on refugees.
To ensure that a refugee's right to protection receives global
priority, the Federation and a group of international NGOs
launched the Reach Out Refugee Protection Training Project.
The aim of the Reach Out project is to enhance refugee protection
awareness, knowledge and skills of those persons responsible
for the delivery of humanitarian assistance within NGOs, National
Societies and the Federation, and to improve operational cooperation
between the UNHCR and participants. Seven training seminars
were offered between March and September, with more scheduled
for the coming months. Your participation is encouraged and
for more information on this project please contact Henk Van
Goethem or Robbie Thomson at the Federation secretariat.
Marching in Solferino
The spirit of Henry Dunant remains present and meaningful
today, 100 years after he received the first Nobel peace prize.
The hope for a better future lies in the force of his ideals.
He himself, faced with the horrid and crushing spectacle of
war, continued to believe in brotherhood and human generosity.
Reaffirming Dunant's ideals, several thousand volunteers from
various National Societies took part in a torchlight procession
on 23 June along the seven-kilometre path where wounded soldiers
fled the battlegrounds of Solferino towards Castiglione on
24 June, 1859. This march, in its ninth year, is organized
by the International Museum of the Red Cross in Castiglione
and the Italian Red Cross (web site: www.micr.it).
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