On 9 June in Tel Aviv, the chairman of the executive committee
of the Magen David Adom (MDA), Yochanan Gur (left), and the
ICRC head of delegation, François Bellon, signed the
first cooperation agreement between the two organizations.
Strengthening the MDA's operational capacity and enhancing
respect for its medical mission is a priority for the ICRC
in Israel. The cooperation agreement provides for ICRC support
in the following areas: funding the training of paramedics
from the MDA's emergency medical service, providing blood
bags for the MDA's blood bank, and supporting the MDA's disaster
management programme aimed at expanding the organization's
capacity to respond to natural disasters and conflict-related
emergencies. In this connection, MDA operational staff will
take part in disaster-preparedness training courses given
by the International Federation.
The ICRC will continue to support the tracing department,
which works closely with National Societies and the ICRC's
Central Tracing Agency on cases dating back to the Second
World War. Finally, to raise awareness of international humanitarian
law and the Fundamental Principles among MDA staff and volunteers
is a growing priority jointly shared by the ICRC and the MDA.
Cross training in Japan
Fumiko Toyone is unique. She is the only person in the whole
of Japan certified to teach all five Japanese Red Cross (JRC)
safety programme courses: basic first aid, water safety, snow
safety, home nursing and child safety.
"Well, it's convenient to know all these areas if people
ask questions outside their own course material," she
says, modestly. The courses are increasingly popular: every
year, some half a million people go through the safety programme
The JRC now has nearly 9,000 trainers across the country,
offering 14,000 training courses annually. Most of the trainers
are volunteers. Fumiko Toyone is one of the relatively small
number of full-time trainers. In ten years, she has personally
trained around 5,000 people.
Their popularity means it is not always easy to get onto
one of the training courses. The Chiba chapter organizes nearly
400 courses a year — with demand often exceeding supply.
By far the most popular is the basic first aid course. In
2002, some 320,000 people took the course in 47 chapters around
the country. The courses vary, ranging from a basic two-hour
introduction to a full four-day one.
Home nursing is growing in popularity, reflecting perhaps
Japan's growing number of elderly people; some 100,000 people
took part in the 3,500 home nursing courses offered in 2002.
Some 40,000 people took part in 900 water safety courses.
Another 29,000 people took part in 1,100 child safety courses,
and 2,000 took part in 70 snow safety courses.
Sidler / ICRC
Troubles have plagued the Solomon Islands in recent years.
The ICRC has reopened its office in the capital, Honiara,
to support the National Society, liaise with the local authorities
and the regional stability force, and visit those detained
by the Regional Assistance Mission to the Solomon Islands.
In accordance with its mandate under international humanitarian
law, the ICRC has started visiting rebel leader Harold Keke
— ICRC delegates saw him on 22 August — and will
continue visits to other detainees, which have been under
way since the unrest and tensions of 1999.
A significant part of the ICRC's international mandate concerns
visiting persons held in detention, during which the organization
assesses conditions and offers detainees the possibility of
exchanging news with their families by means of Red Cross
messages. In accordance with standard ICRC procedures, all
information gathered during these visits is treated confidentially
with the authorities concerned, especially the assessment
and recommendations relating to the conditions of detention
and the treatment.