The Point (Banjul)

31 December 2012

Gambia: Red Cross Convenes Conference On Humanitarian Diplomacy

The Gambia Red Cross Society (GRCS) on Thursday convened a conference on humanitarian diplomacy at the Paradise Suites Hotel.

The conference, first of its kind, was attended by representatives from different stakeholders in all walks of life in the society and centred on the Theme: "Gambia for Gambia Red Cross".

The aim of the conference was to create a better understanding among decision-makers and opinion leaders on humanitarian work to enable them act at all times in the interest of the vulnerable people of the country.

In his remarks at the opening of the occasion, Ebrima A.K Sanneh, president of the GRCS, said the event was a landmark conference as it is the first of its kind in the life of the GRCS.

"The GRCS as recognised by the government, the international movement of Red Cross and Red Crescent, is a voluntary humanitarian relief organization, whose role to auxiliary public authorities, in the humanitarian field, particularly to the Ministry of Health and the medical services of the Armed Forces in accordance with the provision of Geneva Convention 1949 and its additional protocols," he said.

"The GRCS has also always been playing its auxiliary role by supplementing the government efforts in humanitarian field wherever possible," said its president.

According to him, their mission is to alleviate human suffering, reduce vulnerability, and improve life through the power of humanity.

He noted that their network of volunteers is at the core of their activities thereby contributing to the lives of millions of vulnerable people in terms of need.

The GRSC is committed to furthering their role with government, public authorities for a stronger national society and developing volunteerism as well as strengthen disaster laws, he said.

While highlighting that the GRCS enjoyed status and favourable access to vulnerable communities in need of their humanitarian interventions by the government, Mr Sanneh further urged the government to strengthen the legal base of GRCS in domestic laws according to movement standards so as to strengthen their auxiliary role in humanitarian field.

He also called on the public authorities to provide predictable flow of resources for the operational needs of the GRCS.

Fatou Mass Jobe-Njie, Minister of Tourism and Culture, who made a presentation on the theme: "Gambia for Gambia Red Cross", said the GRCS is a national organization that every Gambian should embrace.

She called among others for stronger relationship from all institutions with GRCS and to be supported be it financial, material or human resources to achieve their mission and vision for the sake of humanity.

Bulli Dibba, deputy permanent secretary, Ministry of Health and Social Welfare, made a presentation on "role of Red Cross of improving health and saving lives".

He also called for more partnership with the GRCS to increase the areas of intervention to engaging youth in dialogue, among others.

Dr Kujejatou Manneh, country director of ActionAid The Gambia, delivered a presentation on reducing vulnerability and improving lives, whilst Dr Lamin Sidibeh, a psychologist, talks on what to do more for vulnerable people in The Gambia.

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