Abidjan — While meeting Ivory Coast Head of State Alassane Ouattara, the president of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), Mr. Tadateru Konoé, today called on all parties in Mali, and in any situation of violence, to not only respect international humanitarian law, but to also respect the protective emblems of the Red Cross and Red Crescent to prevent them from misuse.
"It is essential for our National Society in Mali, and others, to embody our humanitarian principles of neutrality and impartiality which guarantee access to people in need," said President Konoé. "It is essential that our protective emblem be accepted and respected by all parties in any circumstances, particularly those of violence."
His comments come on the last day of a four country tour of Africa which saw him visit Kenya, Burundi, Republic of Congo and Cote d'Ivoire. During his meetings with various heads of state, President Konoé called on African governments to develop robust partnerships with their National Red Cross Red Crescent Societies, allowing them to properly assume their role as independent auxiliaries to government.
"The National Societies I visited are all in the process of revamping their development," said the IFRC President. "Their leaders are translating into action their renewed commitment to build on their strengths, to assess and bridge their gaps, and to develop national and international partnerships. They first ask about what they can do for themselves instead of what others can do for them. This is the spirit of the Addis Ababa Plan of Action, adopted at the IFRC Pan African Conference last October, which fosters a willingness to further 'Invest in Africa'. I am inspired by this new mindset which is meant to leverage the creativity and the assets of African National Societies, to do more, to do better and to reach further."