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THE 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.

Jean-François Berger
ICRC editor

Jean Milligan
International Federation editor


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