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Red Cross Red Crescent meets to create a better future

The 21st session of the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies General Assembly wrapped up this week in Antalya, Turkey.

Francesco Rocca, the new President of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies. Photo: IFRC

The 21st session of the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies General Assembly wrapped up this week in Antalya, Turkey.

On the agenda: a new IFRC President; an historic adoption of a Movement-wide strategy to combat mass displacement and global migration; and a focus on advancing youth engagement.

Italian lawyer Francesco Rocca was elected president of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies on Monday. The former president of the Italian Red Cross won 98 votes from the 178 national societies that voted.

“Empowering the youth is imperative for my mandate,” Rocca said at a press conference, the day of his election. “We have to mix the experience of the adults with the enthusiastic approach that the young volunteers are able to bring in our organisation.”

There is need for an emphasis on dignity and respect, even in the midst of combative debates.

Tadateru Konoe

Tadateru Konoe, the former President of the IFRC congratulated his successor while stressing the importance of supporting vulnerable migrants.

“Migration is the most politically charged and divisive issue of our time, and one with tremendous implications for the very nature of humanitarian work. There is need for an emphasis on dignity and respect, even in the midst of combative debates. Surely everyone can agree that death, rape, and abuse is too high a price to pay for the hope of safety and opportunity?” said Konoe.

The migration strategy, which Australian Red Cross was instrumental in drafting, aims to equip the Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement to be able to support migrants at all stages of their journeys, from their country of origin, through to transit and final destination.

The strategy will also focus on enhancing migrants’ resilience as well as advocating for their rights.

“Hundreds of millions of our fellow human beings need us – let us be all that we possibly can be, for their sake, for our sake, and for the power of humanity,” said Konoe.

With the Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement responding to record numbers of extreme weather events, a variety of complex emergencies, outbreaks of infectious diseases, mass displacement and continued global migration the General Assembly provides an opportunity for the Movement to come together to implement strategies and create positive change to “have the future we want tomorrow” said IFRC Secretary General Elhadj As Sy.

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