Issues brief – International Conference resolutions

Published: 1 December 2011

Today saw the close of the 31st International Conference attended by 183 National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, 159 government delegations and observers from over 50 international organisations.

At the conclusion of the event, a total of eight resolutions were passed. They include the following:

Resolution on migration

Resolution (paraphrased)

Calls upon states to ensure that Red Cross Red Crescent has effective and safe access to all migrants without discrimination and irrespective of their legal status. It also calls upon states to ensure that their procedures at international borders, especially those that might result in denial of access, include adequate safeguards to protect the dignity and ensure the safety of all migrants.

Example of issue prompting  resolution

National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies do not always have effective access to migrants in situations where they do not have legal status. This needs to be addressed so that Red Cross and Red Crescent societies can provide humanitarian assistance and protection, where applicable, in their own countries.

Resolution including the protection of volunteers

Resolution (paraphrased)

This resolution, which also addresses and reinforces the status of National Societies as auxiliaries to public authorities, clearly requests that states and the Red Cross Red Crescent work in close collaboration to provide safe access for our volunteers so they can assist all vulnerable groups. It also calls on states to better protect and equip volunteers in time of emergency and calm, and to recognize the substantial economic and social value volunteering brings at national and community levels. 

Example of issue prompting resolution

On 7 April 2011, a Libyan Red Crescent volunteer was travelling in a clearly marked Red Crescent ambulance when a missile hit the back of the ambulance, scattering shrapnel.  Twenty three year old Al-Awami died on the way to the hospital. Al-Awami had been volunteering that same hospital since the start of the uprising, and had asked to join the ambulance crew and go to the frontline and help.

Resolution on health inequities

Resolution (paraphrased)

Calls upon governments and National Red Cross Red Crescent Societies to removing obstacles to reproductive, maternal, newborn and child health through needs-based approach informed by human rights, with a particular emphasis on the right of women and children. It advocates for needs based approach informed by human rights. It also encourages international organizations such as the UN, WHO, the World Bank, as well as regional organizations, to increase their efforts in reducing health inequities, including through implementation of the 2011 Rio Political Declaration on the Social Determinants of Health.

Example of issue prompting resolution

Women, mothers and adolescent girls are far too often subjected to stigma and discrimination, and denied access to health care. In some countries they are required to have spousal or parental permission to access health services such as sexual and reproductive healthcare.

Resolution on disaster law

Resolution (paraphrased)

Ensure that the existing laws and regulations governing disaster preparedness, response and recovery are strengthened and that governments are better prepared and more accountable to their populations when disaster strikes. At the international level, implementation of the resolution will ensure that when major disaster strikes, assistance from outside the country can arrive quickly and unimpeded. It calls on states, the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement and other humanitarian actors to provide for rapid assignment or temporary requisition of land for emergency and transitional shelter and to ensure equitable shelter assistance for all people in need, including documented and undocumented landowners, renters, men and women.

Example of issue
During major emergencies such as the case this year’s tragic earthquake and tsunami in Japan, one of the world’s richest countries and also one of the best prepared for disasters, lessons were learned the hard way following the triple disaster.  Japan received offers of assistance from over 160 countries and dozens of international organizations.  After the 2010 earthquake in Haiti, over 400 organizations and thousands of international helpers arrived, all with good intentions but some with little experience or real capacity.

Resolution on health care in danger

Resolution (paraphrased)

Recalls the obligation to respect and protect the wounded and sick, as well as health-care personnel and facilities, and medical vehicles, and calls on states and relevant actors to take all reasonable measures to ensure safe and prompt access for the wounded and sick to health care in times of armed conflict or other emergencies, in accordance with the applicable legal framework. The resolution endorses a four-year initiative to tackles this global emergency.

Example of issue

A recent study by the ICRC of over 650 incidents across 16 countries coupled with a a follow-up report about the consequences for medical staff and patients form the basis of this initiative. The findings revealed that obstacles to providing and obtaining health care are widespread and affect millions of people throughout the world in countries such as Afghanistan, Colombia, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Libya.

Resolution on strengthening legal protection for victims of armed conflicts

Resolution (paraphrased)

Stresses that greater compliance with international humanitarian law (IHL) is an indispensable prerequisite for improving the situation of victims of armed conflict and reaffirms the obligation of all states and all parties to armed conflict  to ensure respect for IHL at all times. The resolution also calls on the ICRC to pursue further research, consultation and discussion in cooperation with states and, if appropriate other relevant actors, to identity and propose a range of options.

Example of issue

On the whole, IHL remains appropriate for regulating how parties to a conflict must behave. However, in its consultations with states prior to this conference, the ICRC identified weaknesses in the legal framework that need to be addressed. In particular, there is a need to improve protection for detainees in non-international armed conflict and to strengthen international mechanisms to monitor whether the rules are respected or not.

All of the eight resolutions passed will be published in full at by of 6 pm on 1 December 2011.

For more information, or to set up interviews, please contact:

• Jessica Sallabank, Snr. Media Relations officer, IFRC, Geneva
Mobile: +41 79 708 5139 – Email:
• Nicole Engelbrecht, Public Relations Officer, ICRC Geneva
Mobile: +41 79 217 3217 – Email: