/ George Esiri, COURTESY www.alertnet.org
assistance in Nigeria
The ICRC, in close coordination with the
Nigerian Red Cross Society (NRCS), provided medical assistance
for people injured in violence that erupted in May in Plateau
and Kano states.
Teams visited hospitals and first-aid posts in Shendam and
Yelwa. They distributed 16 dressing sets and other materials
that enabled medical personnel and Red Cross volunteers on
the spot to treat up to 500 wounded.
The ICRC and NRCS also assessed the needs of people who had
fled the violence in Yelwa. Some 2,500 of them have been located
in Lafia town in neighbouring Nassarawa state; aid was also
given to the hospital there.
Meanwhile, following the violence that erupted in Kano on
10 May, another ICRC team reached the city five days later
and provided emergency supplies to the general hospital; the
national Red Cross had been giving medical assistance to the
wounded throughout the crisis. The ICRC also visited camps
for displaced people in Kano.
The ICRC in Nigeria has a quick-response capacity to provide
medical facilities with emergency dressing sets to treat 2,500
wounded and to provide essential emergency items for 20,000
Kennedy / LENSMEN
a mine-free world
Today, over three-quarters of the world's states
have ratified or acceded to the Convention on the
Prohibition of the Use, Stockpiling, Production and Transfer
of Anti-personnel Mines and on their Destruction, also known
as the Ottawa treaty, which was adopted in 1997. These countries
include some of the most mine-infested states in the world,
such as Angola, Afghanistan, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Cambodia
One of the pillars of the treaty is a set of promises that
each state agrees to pursue. For example, governments promise
mine-affected communities that one day they can return to
a peaceful life, free of the fear of death or mutilation by
hidden anti-personnel mines which infest their fields, pastures,
footpaths and playgrounds. To mine survivors, governments
promise to provide the assistance they need to rebuild their
lives in dignity. And to future generations, governments promise
that the scourge of anti-personnel mines will never return.
But are these promises being fulfilled? Is the Ottawa treaty
making a real difference on the ground?
At the end of this year, world leaders will meet to answer
these crucial questions, at the Ottawa treaty's First Review
Conference, referred to as the Nairobi Summit on a Mine-Free
World. Governments, international organizations, the ICRC
and other members of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement,
as well as the International Campaign to Ban Landmines and
other civil society representatives from all over the world,
will gather to take stock of the progress made towards the
global elimination of anti-personnel mines since the Convention
entered into force in 1999.
The ICRC has found that where the treaty is being fully implemented,
the annual number of new mine victims has fallen significantly.
But the landmine crisis is far from over. These hidden killers
continue to claim thousands of new victims each year. Ending
the landmine era will require the sustained efforts of all
states, humanitarian actors and civil society.
The Movement remains committed to achieving the Ottawa treaty's
humanitarian objectives and bringing about a mine-free world.
As a sign of this commitment, in December 2003, the Movement's
Council of Delegates renewed the Movement Strategy on Landmines
until 2009, and extended it to cover other explosive remnants
of war. The Strategy on Landmines provides a comprehensive
framework for the Movement's efforts to reduce the suffering
caused by landmines, which in addition to working directly
with mine victims and mine-affected communities, includes
advocacy to promote international norms such as the Ottawa
For more information see www.icrc.org
/ Radu Sigheti,
In response to the major humanitarian crisis
resulting from the conflict in the Darfur region, the ICRC,
in partnership with the Sudanese Red Crescent Society (SRCS),
has considerably reinforced its operations. Priority assistance
is provided to the displaced, sick and wounded persons, most
of them being scattered in camps and across towns. Assistance
includes building materials, cooking items and other basic
necessities, drinking water, hygiene and sanitation items
as well as seeds and agricultural tools.
The ICRC has opened operational bases in Al Junaina and Zalinji
in western Darfur, in addition to Al Fashir, Kutum and Kabkabiya
in northern Darfur and Nyala in southern Darfur. So far, over
50 expatriate delegates and 150 national staff are working
for the Darfur operation and they cooperate closely with the
branches and units of the SRCS, which is playing a key role
in this emergency operation performed in a difficult environment.
SRCS staff and volunteers carry out field assessments, register
internally displaced persons and distribute relief items.
They also help run the tracing and Red Cross message (RCM)
service that is crucial re-establishing family links. The
ICRC further seeks to coordinate the response of other partners
from the Movement in Darfur, namely the Spanish Red Cross,
which has a long-established presence in the area, and the
German Red Cross which recently expanded its activities to