IRRC No. 310

Keynote Address by Mr Cornelio Sommaruga, President of the International Committee of the Red Cross

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The world is weighed down by the victims of too many tragedies. Today, at this 26th International Conference of the Red Cross and Red Crescent, it is in the name of those victims, the sole reason for our presence here, that I am addressing the representatives of the States party to the Geneva Conventions and those of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement. Our Movement is faced with the challenge of protecting and assisting these hapless individuals, whose numbers, alas, are growing day by day. Moreover, the situations in which we have to take action are ever more complex, whether they result from natural or technological disasters, which often occur in developing countries where there is no proper infrastructure, or from armed conflicts and other forms of violence affecting entire populations whose authorities are generally powerless to protect them. It is our solidarity with the victims of these situations that gives us our strength — and this solidarity is expressed through the separate but complementary activities conducted by the National Societies, their International Federation and the ICRC. The complementary nature of our respective tasks, which is the result of experience and is enshrined in our Statutes, is precisely what makes us effective.

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