International Committee of the Red Cross

International Committee of the Red Cross  
Regional Delegation for the United States and Canada
News and Notes
December 2008
Welcome to the inaugural issue of ICRC News and Notes, the monthly newsletter of the Regional Delegation for the United States and Canada. We hope that you will enjoy reading about the ICRC's activities in the United States and Canada as well as our operations worldwide.
You have been subscribed to this distribution list due to a past or current association with a representative of the ICRC.  Should you wish to unsubscribe, please follow the links either at the top or bottom of the message.
Thank you for your interest in the ICRC!
Kind regards,
The ICRC Washington Delegation
In this issue:
The Future of Humanitarianism: A Conversation with Pierre Krähenbühl
ICRC Launches Its Emergency Appeals for 2009
Democratic Republic of the Congo: Many Needs Remain
Convention on Cluster Munitions: ICRC Welcomes Signing of Historic Agreement
The Future of Humanitarianism: A Conversation with Pierre Krähenbühl

Pierre Krahenbuhl speaks at Brookings
On November 24, Pierre Krähenbühl, Director of Operations for the ICRC, spoke at the Brookings Institution in Washington, DC. He addressed the challenges faced by humanitarian actors today and explained the ICRC's approach to neutral and independent action. Brookings Senior Fellow Elizabeth Ferris, co-director of the Brookings-Bern Project on Internal Displacement, provided introductory remarks and moderated the discussion. A transcript of the event is available for those unable to attend.
Victims of Armed Conflict Face Increased Vulnerability in 2009
ICRC providing assistance in DRC
The ICRC has issued its 2009 Emergency Appeals, an overview of the organization's main operational challenges and priorities for the coming year, in which it analyses the situations encountered by its field delegations and missions in some 80 countries around the world and outlines the corresponding objectives and budgetary requirements.
The ICRC is asking donors for more than 1.1 billion Swiss francs (714 million euros / 939 million US dollars) to fund its worldwide efforts to help people affected by armed conflict and other violence in 2009.
"The cumulative impact of armed conflict, high commodity prices, the economic and financial crisis, and environmental factors, such as drought, will hit the poorest and most vulnerable people particularly hard," said ICRC President Jakob Kellenberger. "This is already the case in Somalia, Afghanistan and Yemen, where millions of people will need more assistance next year." Mr Kellenberger added that the ICRC would continue to pay particular attention to the needs of people displaced by armed conflict and of the communities that host them. He stressed that the ICRC's neutrality and independence remained vital to ensuring its unique access to those most in need of help.
Sudan remains the ICRC's largest humanitarian operation, at an expected cost of more than 102 million francs (66 million euros / 87 million dollars) in 2009. It is followed by Iraq (95.9 million francs / 62 million euros / 81 million dollars) and Afghanistan (73.1 million francs / 47 million euros / 62 million dollars).
Democratic Republic of the Congo: Many Needs Remain
Kibati camp. ICRC staff organize distribution of food to displaced.
Recent contacts between Congolese and Rwandan officials are being followed closely by humanitarian organizations. In the meantime, the ICRC is pursuing its activities for victims of the conflict that has ravaged eastern Congo in recent months.

Latest report on ICRC activities in the field
The humanitarian situation in the Kivus remains a source of concern for the ICRC, even though there has been less fighting during the past week. Following the withdrawal of the armed opposition movement of the National Congress for the Defence of the People (CNDP) from Ishasha and Nyamililma last week, residents who had fled their homes to escape the fighting have started to return. Several thousand people have chosen to remain in refugee camps in neighbouring Uganda, however, until the situation stabilizes. The ICRC has supplied medicine to several hospitals in the area to help them cope with additional needs. In south Lubero, the civilians that fled the fighting are slowly returning to the towns of Kirumba, Kayna and Kanyabayonga.
Click here to read more about what the ICRC is doing.
Convention on Cluster Munitions
Convention on Cluster Munitions: ICRC welcomes signing of historic agreement
The widespread use of cluster munitions over many decades has resulted in large numbers of civilian casualties and in the contamination of vast tracts of land. This historic agreement prohibits the use, production, stockpiling, and transfer of cluster munitions. It also commits States to destroying their stockpiles, clearing contaminated areas, and helping victims.

Speaking at the Signing Conference in Oslo, Jakob Kellenberger, the president of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), said: "The ICRC is honored to have been part of this extraordinary process and this significant development of international humanitarian law. Yet we realize that the true measure of its achievement will be how the lives of people and communities affected change in the months and years to come. The historic process, of which the signing of this Convention is a part, will only end when the use of these weapons has ceased, when stockpiles are eliminated, when contaminated areas have been cleared and when victims have been helped to rebuild their lives."

The ICRC has witnessed at first hand the terrible impact of cluster munitions on civilians. It strongly supports the adoption of the Convention and will work to promote its universalization and early entry into force.
Click here to read Mr. Kellenberger's entire statement.
Contact Information
International Committee of the Red Cross
Regional Delegation for the United States and Canada
1100 Connecticut Avenue, NW, Suite 500
Washington, DC 20036 USA 
+1 202-587-4600  
Join Our Mailing List