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Goal 3: Championing peace, reducing suffering

Seeking shared values and working for all humanity.

Nur and her family fled horrific violence in Myanmar three years ago. We’re working with Red Cross Red Crescent partners to support people seeking safety in the places they flee from, the places they pass through, and the places they end up. Photo: Australian Red Cross/AJ Ghani.

Goal: Prevent and alleviate human suffering in times of war and conflict and promote non-violence and peace

Australian attitudes and behaviours strongly reflect humanitarian values

100% of Australian organisations working in conflict zones have implemented an IHL action plan

We have contributed directly to the Movement’s increased impact in migration, disaster risk reduction, ensuring respect for IHL, the elimination of nuclear weapons and health care in danger

We conducted our first annual survey of humanitarian values in Australia, and began efforts to connect people through simple acts of kindness. We also looked at the risks faced by Australian companies operating in conflict zones.

On the international stage, we welcomed a historic nuclear weapons treaty; and worked with 30 Asia-Pacific National Societies to increase support for vulnerable migrants in the region.  

What makes us humanitarian?

The Red Cross Humanitarian Values Index – our first survey of humanitarian attitudes in Australia – provided rich insights into what Australians value and how we can be motivated to act.

The survey found that most Australians care about making their communities better, and two out of three people want to do more to help others. It also showed we need different strategies to engage Australians in issues such as aid and migration: by showing how these issues impact us closer to home, and inspiring people with positive, practical ways to make a difference.

We also participated in the Australian National Outlook, a collaboration between business, academia and civil society to identify issues our country will face in the future and how we might respond. 

Working with businesses in conflict zones

International Humanitarian Law (IHL) action plans help organisations operating in conflict zones to understand their protections and follow their obligations under the laws of war.

We developed a robust methodology and framework for IHL action plans, and secured funding to create an online portal to help businesses and organisations develop their plans. Australian Red Cross’ own IHL action plan has been submitted for adoption by the National Board in FY18/19.

Promoting respect for the laws of war 

In addition to business, we’re working with academia, the humanitarian sector and the media to advance respect for IHL. 

We partnered with the University of Sydney to deliver the first IHL Teaching Symposium, which focussed on the role of journalists in ending impunity for IHL violations, and how a knowledge of IHL can help journalists to report more safely from conflict zones.

Our Handbook on IHL Mooting was produced to inspire the next generation of Australian law and policy makers. With the International Committee of the Red Cross, we supported the Australian Government to amend the Espionage Bill to ensure humanitarian actors can remain involved in military training exercises, to inject our realities and perspectives. 

Contributing to the Movement’s impact

The year saw the formal adoption of an international treaty on the prohibition of nuclear weapons. The treaty calls out the long-term efforts of Red Cross Red Crescent in this areas, and the ongoing assistance we can provide.

At the Statutory Meetings of the Movement in November 2017, we led a resolution to increase worldwide campaigning on nuclear weapons; as well as leading discussions on migration, improving gender balance in governing bodies, and maintaining integrity and accountability. 

With partners across the world, we contributed significantly to the development of the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration. We also helped organise regional dialogues on supporting people who had been trafficked, and labour migrants.

What we learned

Safe migration needs regional responses

The Asia-Pacific Migration Network, which we co-chair, has grown to 35 Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies.

This year, we brought together staff from Vietnam, Tonga, Nepal, the Maldives and the Philippines for a peer-to-peer learning program. This was an opportunity to compare cultural contexts, identify opportunities and share lessons learned in supporting people on the move.

This year’s program explored mental health and immigration detention, support for people who have been trafficked, and the importance of providing people with information before they migrate, to make the experience safer.