The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) is a humanitarian organization dedicated to the protection and assistance of victims of armed conflict and violence. Though originally established in 1863, this independent and neutral organization’s mandate stems from the Geneva Conventions of 1949. The ICRC responds to and aids war torn areas in ways such as addressing sexual assault, humanitarian diplomacy, economic security, and helping detainees. The organization functions all around the world helping those in countries such as Myanmar, South Africa, Sudan, Columbia, and Libya to name a few.
The above map shows the areas of concern of the ICRC. The darker the red, the more concerning and immediate the destruction of country and its affect on their citizens. The goal of this committee within the bounds of this Primer is to develop solutions benefitting the overall improvement of the success and efficiency of the efforts of the ICRC within the areas of violence. The ICRC faces many roadblocks such as funding, allocation of resources, security restraints, and their ability to access victims. All of these factors need to be taken into account when preparing, debating, and writing resolutions.
Issues Facing all Operations:
Funding exists as a primary problem for many non profit organizations with large budget necessities. As the International Committee of the Red Cross provide aid to multiple areas at any given time, funding is a crucial element that needs focus and improvement. In the recently released proposed fund for 2017, the ICRC asks for 1.6 Billion Swiss Francs in order to cover the cost of operations in over fourteen countries with the largest contributions going to Syria, South Sudan, Iraq, Afghanistan, and Nigeria
Furthermore, considerations for necessary allocation of funding for the emergency situations that may occur at any given time in which the ICRC also aids. The method the ICRC implements to ascertain this number stems from the humanitarian needs of the communities affected, their ability to deliver aid and protection to those communities to create a realistic assessment of what can actually be instated.
Much of this funding comes from the world’s governments with a grand total of 84% of the overall funding in 2015 provided by said governments. However, governments are not the only method of funding, the rest of the 16% was contributed through private sources, public sources, national societies, and the European Commission. With the large amount estimated in the proposed budget, funding, as with any organization, stands as a primary issue to ensure finds a solution. It is important to consider while researching the benefits and implications of increasing partnerships with private corporations, other new sources of funding to diversify in order to meet the need for increased funding, and how to better account for monetary funding necessary for emergency situations.
Yet another main problem is the allocation of the resources the ICRC has to offer throughout the world. At any given time the International Committee of the Red Cross have over a dozen major operations in effect worldwide. In total the ICRC possesses 14,500 workers dispersed across 80 countries with priority focus on key operations. The limited resources apply to not only funding, but also workers, medical aid, security, and clean food and water. The ICRC provides aid for a large and important variety of issues found in violent areas. There are limited numbers of personnel available to help with diplomatic matters, economic crises, helping detainees, and a number of other problems. Despite 14,500 being a large number, when they are dispersed throughout the entire world, the amount of workers able to be allocated to a certain area severely dwindles. Throughout all the areas currently war torn or involved in violence, there is an immediate need for medical aid, food, and water which all come with workers deployed to the area. The unfortunate truth stands that there are limited supplies of the necessities to ensure the life of these victims. The lack of access to medical aid and clean water are two issues causing the death toll to increase. With injured persons and a lack of medical supplies or sanitation, infections spread and injuries worsen leading to death. Some key things to consider are recruitment of new aid workers, how to increase medical aid supplies in an efficient manner that will not exponentially increase costs, and the ability to increase access to clean water in all areas.
But in order for any of the previous issues to matter, security needs to be accounted for. Despite funding and allocation of resources, the ability to access the victims to allocate the funds while keeping them and the aid workers in relative safety remains a top priority. Although the ICRC itself exists as an independent neutral entity, many war torn countries continue to fight the entrance of aid workers and even make an effort to attack the medical aids. Security is a top priority when the topic of actually implementing the aid is discussed. There needs to be improved methods of protecting the injured victims within the countries while providing them safe access to medicine and water. Safety precautions and security measures for aid workers need elevation so that the same people we send to aid the victims do not become ones themselves. Keep in mind the limited amount of personnel and training. Though all workers for the ICRC submit to training, few have extensive experience with self defense and weapons training. The aid workers are at an added risk for violence and require security measures to be improved in order to ensure a semblance of safety.
Issues Facing Individual Operations
The Syria crisis now faces its sixth year of conflict and stands as one of the most complex and difficult humanitarian crises in the world. The death toll continues to rise with the destruction of the country’s infrastructure increasing. There exists no end to the violence in sight. Currently in Syria, there have been 6.3 million people have been displaced from their homes, 5 million people live in hard to reach besieged cities , 4.8 million refugees fleeing the country desperately, 1.5 million people injured, and 250,000 killed. These numbers continue to rise on a daily basis. The main problem Syria is facing are the medical needs of those injured
. Not only are the people of Syria constantly injured from the violence occurring including bombings, shootings, and the overall violence surrounding the country, but once injured, they still remain in danger. Injured civilians in Syria are subject to being hunted down and arrested rather than given medical treatment. However, even if the injured were to find hospitals and seek treatment, they still remain targets. Many resort to makeshift hospitals, most of which prove too close to the fighting areas to stay safe and after stabilization, patients need to be transferred yet again to a hospital elsewhere. Those who are transferred to safer hospitals still stand as targets for bombings and other violent attacks. Hospitals are common targets for both sides of any warfare to bomb in order to dishearten the opposition. Furthermore, they are subject to being raided for medical supplies and equipment to be sold on the black market and used by rebel forces fighting the government army. On top of all of the dangers, the main issue with the injured is the lack of supplies and their access to the proper medical personnel and sanitation. Many of the injured within war zones require major operations which cannot be performed properly with the limited resources available and the lack of sanitation there. Infections are a common occurrence when the medical supplies cannot be properly sanitized and antibiotics are scarce. Even if the surgeries were possible, there are no blood banks in Syria and excessive blood loss exists as a deterrent for major operations. The dangers of performing surgery in the war zone at times outweigh the benefits of performing the surgery. The unfortunate truth stands that there are not enough medications or the right medications to aid all the injured in Syria. The civilians of Syria are caught up in the violence, terrorizing them and causing fear of everyday activities. The health system in the country is severely deteriorating and contributing to the overall deterioration of the overall country.
Much of the problems facing Myanmar revolve around rehabilitation and reconstruction throughout the country. The ongoing civil war the country faces leaves a path of destruction in its wake. The destruction of villages, businesses, and the overall displacement of their citizens displays the need for infrastructure improvement and improved access to supplies. However, main issue exists that although the country faces warfare, they are primarily subject to mass flooding which rapidly destroys the infrastructure around the country. Myanmar experiences a monsoon season every year from May to October which leads to mass flooding. The aftermath of these floods requires increased aid from the ICRC. 120,000 people of the Myanmar population were affected or displaced by the mass flooding in 2015 and needed water, sanitation, shelter, food, and money to support the recovery of their livelihoods. Despite violence existing as a large issue for Myanmar, the mass flooding for half of the year largely causes the majority of issues the country faces for infrastructure improvements and rebuilding. These infrastructure improvements include not only the construction of roads and bridges, but also training of police officers, medical officers, engineers, and waste management personnel. As it stands, the Myanmar people lack the access to basic infrastructures and services.
The country vastly lacks access to electricity, transportation infrastructure, and the ability to communicate. The flooding which occurs every year is detrimental to the infrastructure that does exist, but it’s not just the roads and buildings. Between the flooding and violence, much of the small businesses within villages and cities have been destroyed. Many businesses and their owners have no way of restarting now that their livelihoods have been destroyed. They have no way of receiving money outside of the government and humanitarian grants that are not given to all businesses. Many of the Myanmar citizens require funding and or a solution to their destroyed businesses to restart their lives and rebuild their livelihoods. Along with the infrastructure improvements, natural disasters create many injuries and mobility issues. Access to hospitals is crucial to the survival of disaster victims. Furthermore, the resources necessary to sustain life dwindle in numbers while floods block access, destroy said resources, and carry them along as the water recedes. Response time during a disaster is crucial to ensure the maximum amount of lives saved. With a country like Myanmar which experiences monsoons and possible flooding every year, they consistently require clean water, food, sanitation, and medical aid. The country requires serious reconstruction of their infrastructure, with emphasis on flood protection, and an improved system to manage the aftermath of these floods. This requires training, funding, and resources.
The conflict experienced in Ukraine left its citizens in a state requiring rebuilding of their country. Critical resources continue to stay at risk. Recently, repairs to the water infrastructure returned water to the Donetsk region of Ukraine. However, the water supply is still under threat for 600,000 Ukrainians. At the start of October, water pump stations situated in the Lugansk stopped functioning due to the surmounting unpaid electricity bills. The ICRC stepped in with the understanding the citizens would restart payments starting in December. All aspects of the lives of Ukrainian citizens living in the conflict zone necessitate rectifying. The main issues surrounding the humanitarian efforts in Ukraine revolve around rebuilding of lives, the return of displaced people, and the recovery of the missing. The homes, businesses, and schools of many civilians were destroyed or damaged during the violence. The area requires materials to begin construction such as metal sheeting. Schools affected by the conflict require repairs to allow their return to safe and comfortable environments for children to receive an education in. Many children are beginning to return to recently repaired schools, however, their education proves to create additional expenses that aren’t affordable in the situation many families live in currently. Furthermore, much of the population still lives in a state of displacement and others are missing all together. Thousands of families continue to search for their missing loved ones despite the over 500 people found between January to June 2016 alone.
Those missing and those displaced require return to their homes and previous lives. The displaced persons make up large numbers with 54,000 Ukrainians displaced to Southern Russia, 6,500 displaced to Belarus, and 60,00 others displaced in general. Those people still missing fulfill the bounds of numerous possibilities ranging from dead to political detainees. The total number of the missing people is still undetermined after two years but estimated in large quantities. The bodies found in the aftermath require precise identifications due to the mass amounts of missing people still out there. The large numbers of civilians injured and affected during this violent crisis continue to be affected daily through missing family members or the confirmed losses. Ukraine faces difficult times and will continue to face them until they can complete rebuilding the lives and infrastructure demolished during the violence. The country’s main concern in the aftermath of the crisis is returning to their lives. Finding the missing, returning the displaced home, and restoring the damaged buildings exists as the priority in the years after the conflict.
Questions to Consider:
- What are other sources of funding the ICRC could potentially tap into?
- How can the ICRC improve the efficiency of their funding and supply allocation in order to allow for the biggest impact on the smallest budget?
- Is it possible to increase the amount of medical supplies or access to clean water through new technologies?
- Are there security measures that could be implemented to improve the security of the aid workers and the victims?
- How can the training of aid workers be improved to allow for increased safety?
- Are there ways to increase the amount of recruitment of aid workers to the ICRC?
- How can we learn and improve upon the issues affecting the individual operations?
- Are there solutions currently in place to aid specific situations and can they be added or improved?
- What can be learned from the issues of all three major operations combined?
- How can the ICRC improve upon their methods?
Committee Positions and Assignments
|Bernard G. R. Daniel||Director|
|Maya Hertig Randall||Director|
|Melchior de Muralt||Director|
Delegates should come to the Primer Conference with an understanding of how the Red Cross Red Crescent operates and manages its field operations. This simulation will be of the Directorate of the ICRC, meaning that delegates will represent Directors of the Red Cross, not the nations from where the directors live. Although national background can play a role in the individual decision making process, delegates are encouraged to put the direction and success of the Red Cross as the priority.
The committee will be allowed to pass a variety of documents. First, it may write press releases for distribution to international news outlets. Second, it may pass formal requests to national government, local governments, NGOs/non-profits, and individuals. Formal requests may ask for funding, transportation allowance, operational control, and anything else the committee feels necessary.
The goal of the simulations is for the Red Cross to maintain proper operations, juggling ongoing field operations around the world, fund raising operations, and any new operations which may be deemed necessary in times of crisis.
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