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This issue puts the spotlight on the problem of integration in today's societies.

A people fragmented and scattered across some 20 countries, most of them in Europe, the Roma continue to survive in conditions that have been steadily deteriorating since the end of the cold war. At a time of political and economic transition in eastern Europe, we wanted to learn more about these vulnerable communities, who often live astride two worlds - a world steeped in ancient rites and traditions and the modern world of the global village and the market economy.

For the Movement, the Roma issue - deeply marked by the rise of intolerance and exclusion - is a sensitive one and something of a double-edged sword, for it requires reconciling the need to act with humanity on behalf of the most vulnerable without privileging a particular community and risk compromising its impartiality.

In Canada, the indigenous peoples are facing a disturbing rise in violence, notably among the Inuit in the north, where the suicide rate is one of the highest in the world. The experience of the Canadian Red Cross provides a glimmer of hope which owes much to the commitment of the volunteers of this National Society.

Lastly, we felt it opportune to examine the role of a new actor on the humanitarian scene: big business, which is playing a more incisive role in certain crises. In recognition of the growing influence of economic actors on important areas of its work, the Movement has developed a more coherent approach towards the corporate sector, putting humanitarian concerns at the top of the agenda.

ICRC editor

Jean Milligan
Federation editor

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