Elhadj As Sy IFRC Secretary General
Date: Friday, 24 May, 2019
Event: Sexual & Gender-Based Violence SGBV conference
Location: Oslo, Norway

We have heard the statistics.  Well, behind each of those figures there is a human being.

We have also heard the stories.  There are way too many of them, and it’s totally unacceptable.

We witness the pain, and we also witness the courage. We witness the hope, and that’s what we need to build on.

But it hurts us – it also hurts the humanity that we all share, which is the mother of all our fundamental principles of humanitarian action.

So we are moved, and let’s put that motion into concrete action.

How can we move from stigma to respect and more empathy … from exclusion to inclusion, not ‘them’ and ‘us’ but ‘we’, the collective ‘we’ that really cares … from denial to acceptance, and to recognition of the problems that we’re all facing … but most importantly from the despair that we’re all confronted with, to hope: the hope that can lead us to action.

We have plans and we have policies – so now let’s act.

And in that spirit that I would like to pledge that 191 National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies in 191 countries – and 14 million volunteers on the ground in those communities – will care, will support, will prevent, and will accompany people to recover and preserve what is most important to them, which is their human dignity.

Thank you for partnering with us, thank you for the trust, and we also pledge that we will make best use of the funds entrusted to us, for people to recover their human dignity.

Speech data

National Societies


Sexual and gender-based violence