War in Cities: Joining forces to tackle the humanitarian impact

April 2021

Abstract

What do you do when your city suddenly becomes a battleground? Around the world, millions of civilians are caught in the crossfire. As homes and neighborhoods turn into frontlines, many have no other choice but to run for their lives amidst widespread destruction or to shelter in place, often with no place to hide.
We see it all too often. Mosul, Aleppo, Raqqa, Marawi, Gaza, Mogadishu, Donetsk, Tripoli, Sanaa—a long list of cities trapped in the horror of war, each a story of untold civilian fear and suffering almost too vast to imagine. Each battle leaving affected populations displaced and traumatized for years, many with life-long scars and disabilities – visible and invisible.

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Restoring Family Links: protecting data, protecting individuals

February 2021

The importance of data protection for the work of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement was recently highlighted with the adoption of Resolution 4 at the 33rd International Conference of the Red Cross and Red Crescent in December 2019. Entitled “Restoring Family Links while respecting privacy, including as it relates to personal data protection,” this resolution emphasizes the need to establish an ongoing dialogue between States and National Societies, to ensure cross-border transfers of data with the highest data protection standards. This is due to the sensitive nature of the personal data required to locate missing or separated family members. This blog post examines this issue with examples from Germany and Australia to illustrate the progress and agreements that can be made with States to help facilitate this important work of the Movement.

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Addressing sexual and gender-based violence – the challenges of a global pandemic

December 2020

Sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) is rising in the shadow of the COVID-19 pandemic, and it has been estimated by the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) that, in the first six months of lockdown, as many as 31 million new incidents of SGBV may have occurred. As the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement, we are more than ever aware of the continued discrimination and inequality that can drive increased risks to women, girls, boys, men and sexual and gender minorities, including persons with disabilities, of facing SGBV in crises. The Movement resolution on joint action for SGBV prevention and response, adopted at the 32nd International Conference of the Red Cross and Red Crescent in 2015, highlighted the continued and urgent necessity to address this issue. On the occasion of the 16 Days of Activism against Sexual and Gender-Based Violence, the ICRC and IFRC operational teams shed light on where we should go from here.

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Mental health and psychosocial consequences of emergencies – A call for global action

November 2020

The current COVID-19 pandemic has further highlighted the relevance, appropriateness and necessity of Resolution 2, “Addressing mental health and psychosocial needs of people affected by armed conflicts, natural disasters and other emergencies”. Adopted unanimously at the 33rd International Conference by States and National Societies, this resolution calls for increased efforts to respond to mental health and psychosocial needs. With the pandemic causing uncertainty, additional stress and anxiety, new light has been shed on mental health and psychosocial needs in the public debate. Now, more than ever, multiple and complex humanitarian needs demonstrate the importance of a holistic and integrated response that addresses the diverse mental health and psychosocial needs of people affected by armed conflicts, natural disasters and other emergencies.

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Beyond Rhetoric: The Need to Tackle Racism and Discrimination

November 2020

The global anti-racism protests have caused all of us to collectively reflect on some difficult truths regarding racism and discrimination. The humanitarian sector is not immune to these discussions, with calls for reflections about long-standing problems of systemic racism and ‘de-colonizing’ the aid system. As the Red Cross Red Crescent Movement, we must be involved in these difficult conversations and should not shy away from serious reflections. There are no boundaries in terms of where we can go based on our Fundamental Principles, and what we should do as individuals and organisations. This is our moral responsibility.

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A Climate for Change: Towards a Humanitarian Climate and Environment Charter

October 2020

The number of people in need of humanitarian assistance due to the climate crisis today has reached an unprecedented level. As more than 51.6 million individuals have been recorded to be directly affected by floods, droughts or storms, it is all the more crucial for the humanitarian sector to react and come up with pressing solutions. In this regard, the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement has demonstrated the important role it has on the ground in reducing risks and addressing the impacts of climate change. With important events ranging from last year’s 33rd International Conference, to the more recent Climate: Red Summit on 9-10 September, the Red Cross Red Crescent network has demonstrated its preparedness to anticipate climate shocks and hazards before they hit. As “unprecedented” events are becoming the new normal, it is now more crucial than ever to take appropriate climate adaptation action.

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The story of a resolution in the time of COVID-19

September 2020

This story is about the wisdom and courage of adopting a resolution at the 33rd International Conference of the Red Cross and Red Crescent (IC33), only a few months before the rise of a global pandemic that changed the world. It is about its value and relevance in real-life emergencies, and how it became one of the most important tools to position National Societies at the center of COVID-19 operations, and as allied and supported members of a global movement. It also reflects on how the Movement has had to change, connect, and adapt in the midst of this crisis.

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