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©ICRC

Cooperation agreement

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.


Red 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 training courses.

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.


©Roland Sidler / ICRC

Trouble in paradise

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.

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