2009, we will be marking the 150th anniversary of the battle
of Solferino, the moment when the world’s largest humanitarian
movement, the Red Cross and Red Crescent, was born. Founded
originally to alleviate the suffering of soldiers wounded
on the battlefield, the Red Cross Red Crescent has worked
tirelessly ever since to extend its humanitarian work to other
categories of victims, in particular civilians.
In parallel, as international humanitarian law, which aims
at mitigating the effects of armed conflicts, has developed
over time, so has the relationship between the Movement and
the armed forces. The more recent involvement of the military
in the management of crises — in war zones and after
natural disasters — has added a new, sometimes problematic,
dimension to this relationship.
With the benefit of hindsight, we thought it useful to take
a look at how this relationship has evolved and to examine
more closely some of the current challenges, notably through
the lens of the conflict in Afghanistan, where the stakes
are perhaps the highest of all.
It is 20 years since the first issue of Red Cross Red Crescent
magazine appeared, as the back cover of this issue attests.
What better moment to thank all our readers across the globe
for their loyalty and interest over the years? It is also
time for Jean-François Berger, ICRC editor, to move
on after ten years at the helm.