Afghan Red Crescent Society President’s Message Regarding the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement Day

May 17, 2016

Peace is the symbol of humanitarian and coexistence, and Afghan Red Crescent Society is doing its utmost to foster this culture throughout Afghanistan. In 1828, a boy was born that wrote a book in his 34 year old that cause the creation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies in countries all over the world. This person was no one but Jean Henry Dunant, who was born into a wealthy home but died in a hospice. Dunant arrived in Solferino on the evening of 24 June 1859, on the same day a battle between the two sides had occurred nearby. Twenty-three thousand wounded, dying and dead remained on the battlefield, and there appeared to be little attempt to provide care. Dunant himself took the initiative to organize the civilian population, especially the women and girls, to provide assistance to the injured and sick soldiers. After returning to Geneva early in July, Dunant decided to write a book about his experiences, which he titled “A Memory of Solferino”. It was published in 1862 in an edition of 1,600 copies and was printed at Dunant's own expense. He also developed the idea that in the future a neutral organization should exist to provide care to wounded soldiers. President of the Geneva Society for Public Welfare, Jurist Gustave Moynier, made the book and its suggestions the topic of the 9 February 1863 meeting of the organization. Dunant's recommendations were examined and positively assessed by the members. They created a five-person Committee to further pursue the possibility of their implementation and made Dunant one of the members. Their first meeting on 17 February 1863 is now considered the founding date of the International Committee of the Red Cross. In October 1863, 14 states took part in a meeting in Geneva organized by the committee to discuss the improvement of care for wounded soldiers. Dunant himself, however, was only a protocol leader because of Moynier's efforts to diminish his role. A year later on 22 August 1864, a diplomatic conference organized by the Swiss Parliament led to the signing of the First Geneva Convention by 12 states. Dunant, again, was only in charge of organizing accommodation for the attendees. In 1901 he received the first Nobel Peace Prize together with Frédéric Passy, making Dunant the first Swiss Nobel laureate. This year, in Afghanistan, we celebrate this day as IFRC and ICRC delegates, ARCS volunteers and staff are participating the celebration ceremony under the slogan “Every Where for Every One”. I announce my appreciation from all those who have financially or none-financially supported Afghan Red Crescent Society. In the other hand, I ask the international partners, national benevolent merchants, and volunteers to support ARCS so we will be able to prevent or alleviate human suffering. Finally, I wish successive success to you and all those people who are supporting affected and vulnerable population without any discrimination. Fatima Gailani ARCS President

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