crisis in the western Sudanese region of Darfur broke out
in February 2003, although reports only began emerging at
the end of the year. Since the beginning, the civilian population
— residents and displaced — has and is still suffering
as a result of serious and widespread violations of international
humanitarian law by all sides. The ICRC, focused on its objective
to protect the civilian population of Darfur, insists that
all parties to the conflict fully respect the rules and norms
of international humanitarian law.
Currently, the Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement is running
its largest operation worldwide in Darfur and Chad. The ICRC
is leading the response in Darfur, and is working closely
with the Sudanese Red Crescent and numerous National Societies,
while the International Federation and Chad Red Cross spearhead
efforts across the border in Chad. The core of the Movement’s
relief operation consists of providing shelter, food and water,
medical care to hundreds of thousand people of all origins.
Let us hope that the Movement’s neutral and impartial
operation can be pursued in this fragile environment where
overall food shortage is likely to last at least until the
next harvest in December 2005. More than ever security for
the civilian population remains a major concern. A final note
on developments related to the magazine. This issue is being
produced in Russian, enlarging even further our readership.
We sincerely hope this will not be a one-time initiative,
and that a Russian and an Arabic version will be available
next year, in addition to the English, French and Spanish.