IFRC President “inspired” by visit to Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan

Astana, 3 July 2017 – The work of the Red Crescent in Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan is building hope and resilience in both countries, Mr Tadateru Konoé, President of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), said today.

The IFRC President visited the Central Asian nations to meet with volunteers and staff of the Red Crescent Society of Uzbekistan and the Kazakh Red Crescent, and to hold high-level discussions with Government leaders on how best to support and promote humanitarian activities in their countries.

What I have seen in both countries has inspired me, and gives me a great deal of hope,” said Mr Konoé. “Red Crescent volunteers and staff are working very hard to support people in need and to promote dignity and resilience in communities across Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan.

Both countries are home to very diverse communities, with diverse challenges and opportunities. But the sense of social cohesion and respect for diversity shone through very clearly, as did the people’s admiration for the Red Crescent.”

In Uzbekistan, Mr Konoé was welcomed to Tashkent and Samarkand by the President of the Red Crescent, Prof. Khamid Yakubovich Karimov, and was given briefings on the organization’s work and its successful membership structure, which has encouraged more than a million people to become supporters and volunteers. This was the first visit by a serving IFRC president since the Red Crescent Society of Uzbekistan was founded in 1925.

In a series of high-level meetings, Uzbekistan’s Deputy Prime Minister, Mrs Tanzila Narbayeva, and other ministers spoke of their understanding of and support for the Red Crescent Society of Uzbekistan’s work as an independent humanitarian auxiliary to the Government, and agreed that this unique role should be strengthened to help build more resilient communities across the country.

During his visit to Kazakhstan, Mr Konoé was welcomed by the Kazakh Red Crescent’s president, Dr. Yerkebek Kambarovich Argymbayev, and met volunteers and staff at the Astana branch. He learned of the Red Crescent’s work in health, blood donation, disaster response and prevention, and social support services, and met several labour migrants who are being supported by the Kazakh Red Crescent and partner organisation Zhariya.

I was particularly encouraged to meet labour migrants who were so empowered by the help they received that they are now serving as Red Crescent volunteers themselves,” said Mr Konoé.

One young volunteer told me that she believes everyone wants to do something good in the world. The Red Cross and Red Crescent give this opportunity to everyone, no matter who they are or where they are from, and I can see the positive results in Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan.”

Mr Konoé and Dr Argymbayev met with Kazakhstan’s Foreign Minister, Mr Kayrat Abdrakhmanov, on 3 July. The IFRC President thanked the Minister for his Government’s support to the Kazakh Red Crescent, and asked him to consider exploring an enhanced partnership that would include the adoption of a Red Crescent Law in Kazakhstan, and further backing for the Kazakh Red Crescent’s plan to host the 10th European Regional Conference of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies in Almaty in May 2018.