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Humanitarian Village

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Australian Red Cross warmly invites you to visit the Humanitarian Village!

A free exhibition at the Sydney Convention and Exhibition Centre [map] 11 - 18 November, 7:30am to 6:30pm (closed 16 November).

It's the perfect place for delegates, volunteers, Red Cross members and the public to interact, connect, be entertained and learn more about the work of the Red Cross Red Crescent Movement.

What you'll find at the Humanitarian Village:

  • Over 40 exhibits of the work of Red Cross Red Crescent National Societies
  • A Speaker's Corner with daily lunchtime and evening panel discussions with eminent Australian and International speakers on topical humanitarian issues
  • See exciting performances celebrating cultural diversity and visit the Humanity Cafe
  • Four inspiring photographic exhibitions featuring Syria, the Pacific, Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and 150 years of the Red Cross Red Crescent Movement



At the Humanitarian Village yesterday, a panel explored the need for the adoption of treaties relating to weapons like small arms, landmines and cluster munitions. Leonard Blazeby, Head of Mission, ICRC Australia facilitated the discussion opening with a reminder to everyone of the need to continue advocating for the humanitarian consequences of weapons and ensure it's a focus for all countries.

Soraj Ghulam Habib, a passionate advocate for banning cluster munitions gave a harrowing yet inspiring account of what happened to him as a ten-year-old boy in Afghanistan.

"It was a sunny day when I went on a picnic with my family near my house. On the way back home, I saw something on the ground and I picked it up. It exploded in my hand and I threw it away but it landed on my back. At that moment I had lost my legs and one of my cousins died," he said.

Mr Habib explained how the doctors refused to help him as they believed his quality of life as a young boy without legs would be very poor, so poor in fact that they told his family they should let him die. His family would not accept this diagnosis and fought until doctors assisted him. When he returned home his mother had a wheelchair waiting for him which she had received from Red Cross. Life for Soraj and his family had changed forever as they all adapted to his disability.

Many years later, Soraj applied for a job with the ICRC and two years ago he moved to Australia. "Now I live here. I am really happy. I live in peace." Soraj says he speaks on behalf of thousands of people who are innocent victims: "I don't ask for my legs back but I ask for an opportunity to get my confidence back. I am asking, begging people to please stop cluster munitions not for me but for other children around the world."

Read more about the Speakers and Performances.