Caracas/Geneva, 8 February 2019 – The President of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies has strongly defended principled humanitarian action, calling on stakeholders in Venezuela and around the world to respect the neutral, impartial and independent nature of the Red Cross’ humanitarian work in the country.
Speaking at a press conference in the Venezuela capital Caracas, IFRC President Francesco Rocca said:
“The focus of the Red Cross in Venezuela – as it is around the world – is on responding to the needs of the people, without regard for their social status or political views”, said Mr Rocca.
“This commitment to humanitarian principles – to neutrality, impartiality and independence – means that Red Cross volunteers are trusted and able to reach communities and people in need. Our work is not political. Don’t politicize us,” said Mr Rocca.
The situation in Venezuela is evolving constantly. According to the UN, more than 3 million people have left the country since mid-2017 – an historic phenomenon that has triggered humanitarian relief efforts across the region, while also creating knock-on effects in Venezuela.
The Venezuelan Red Cross has more than 2,600 active volunteers across the country and operates eight hospitals and 38 outpatient clinics. In 2018 alone, these facilities provided services to more than 1 million Venezuelans.
“I want to also recognize the tremendous dedication and courage of Red Cross volunteers,” said Mr Rocca. “We salute you, we stand with you, and we are ready to scale up and expand our support so that you have the resources to reach all those who need your help.”
For interviews with Mr Rocca, please contact:
In Caracas: Tommaso Della Longa, +41 79 708 43 67, firstname.lastname@example.org
In Panamá: Diana Medina, +507 6780 5395, email@example.com
In Geneva: Matthew Cochrane, +41 79 251 80 39, firstname.lastname@example.org