SRCA president: Humanitarian work essential factor in building international community
The Saudi Red Crescent Authority President Dr. Jalal Bin Mohammed Al-Owaisi, reiterated the authority's keenness on its international presence at several levels, especially in the humanitarian and relief fields, noting that the authority shows great interest in international organizational work under the umbrella of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC).
Dr. Al-Owaisi, who heads the Authority’s delegation to the 23rd session of IFRC General Assembly currently being held in Geneva, explained in statements on the sidelines of the event that the Federation is an international organization that includes in its membership societies and bodies of the Red Cross and Red Crescent in more than 192 different countries.
He noted, this makes it the largest humanitarian network in the world, and aims to provide support and aid to all those in need, regardless of their gender, race, religion and political affiliation, in conflicts, famines, disasters and health emergencies.
He added that the International Federation, which was founded in 1919, raises the slogan of inspiring, promoting, and facilitating humanitarian activities, alleviating human suffering, and implementing relief operations to support victims of disasters, such as earthquakes and floods.
With nearly 15 million volunteers cooperate with the Federation in achieving these objectives for the good of humanity, he noted that the Federation’s aid reaches to around 160 million people worldwide annually, through long-term services, development and disaster response programs.
Dr. Al-Owaisi pointed out that the Saudi Red Crescent Authority was established more than 80 years ago under the name "The National Charitable Air Ambulance Association in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia" to serve pilgrims.
Since that date, the authority has gone through several stages since its establishment as a charitable association until it was transformed into an integrated body that simplifies its services to the various regions across the Kingdom and even extends its humanitarian arms beyond national borders.
“The Saudi Red Crescent Authority currently relies, for its reference, on the Geneva Conventions of 1949, their two Additional Protocols of 1977, and the related future agreements and protocols to which the Kingdom is a party, and the decisions and principles of the International Movement of the Red Cross and Red Crescent, of which the International Federation is a part.
“As a result of its active role in the humanitarian movement and its positive participation in international organizations and specialized gatherings, and the promotion of the exchange of experiences and expertise and the sharing of information and the rest of the resources, the Authority’s march has been internationally recognized by the Union as the 99th member since 1963,” Dr. Al-Owaisi said.
He added that the authority, since that date, has been striving to build the capacities of citizens and local communities to find sustainable solutions to their needs, save lives, protect livelihoods, enhance recovery from disasters and crises, enable a healthy and safe life, encourage a culture of peace and renounce violence, in addition to providing aid to those in need as a result of natural and man-made disasters externally.
Concerning the IFRC General Assembly and the dossiers it focuses on at its current session, Dr. Al-Owais said that the General Assembly is the highest governing body of IFRC, which determines the vision, strategy, and general policies that govern IFRC.
He added delegates from 192 recognized National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies attend the General Assembly meeting, including the Saudi Red Crescent Authority, which convenes every two years to determine the general policy of the Federation.
Dr. Al-Owaisi said this year’s session is being held under the theme "The Power of Humanity”, and seeks to enhance trust, and integrity, and localize humanitarian work and investment in national societies, which will provide an opportunity to discuss how the union can be preserved and assisted to fulfill its role to the maximum of its capacity.
He added that the General Assembly in the current session will elect a new president, a deputy, and members of the board for the next four years through elections, which the Saudi Red Crescent is keen to be active in and play a prominent role, and effectively contribute to serving the Federation and upgrading its role and capabilities.
Regarding the keenness of the Saudi Red Crescent Authority to participate in the meetings of the Federation, Dr. Al-Owaisi said “Working under the umbrella of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, with its seven principles and the 2030 strategy, which includes lofty values and noble goals, requires all of us to come together to achieve its humanitarian goals; for our National Societies to be able to advance their local communities first, and to support each other in crises and challenges.”
He noted that the Saudi Red Crescent Authority seeks to put its full expertise, experiences, and capabilities spanning over 60 years to support the realization of this strategy, adding that the humanitarian message adopted by the Authority is not limited to the local and national level only, but rather by harnessing the capabilities, and expertise to spread humanitarian thought to all needy people in various countries to save lives and relieve suffering.
Dr. Al-Owaisi said that the aforementioned objectives are fully consistent with the Kingdom's Vision 2030, which believes that humanitarian and relief work is an essential factor in building an international community based on cooperation and the will to build, rejecting division and violence, and rallying behind the slogan "Together for a world free of suffering."