Namibia Red Cross Society (NRCS) was among the 183 National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, 159 governments, and over 50 International organisations that attended the 31st International Conference.
NRCS board chairman Professor Peter Katjavivi headed the Society’s Delegation to the Conference. The delegation included Ms. Dorkas Kapembe-Haiduwa (Secretary General) and Mr. Walde Natangwe Ndevashiya, (a member of the Board).
Professor Peter Katjavivi says the conference was an outstanding success for Namibia as it saw the re-election of Mr. Hoveka, Managing Director of the Ned Bank, to the Finance Commission of the International Federation of the Red Cross and the Red Crescent (IFRC). Mr. Hoveka was first appointed to the Finance Commission in 2005 and he will be serving a second term with his reappointment to the commission. “Mr. Hoveka’s re-election was indeed a very competitive election as various countries and regions wanting to have their delegates into some of these key positions,” says Katjavivi. He was re-elected during the General Assembly which is the International Federation’s highest decision-making body. The General Assembly (GA) was followed by the Council of Delegates (CoD) an event that brought together representatives of National Societies, the International Federation Secretariat, and the International committee of the Red Cross. The Council of Delegates takes decisions on Movement policies. The two events were then followed by the International Conference which saw representatives from governments, movement’s representatives and other International Organisations joining participants of the IFRC GA and CoD.
The Government of Namibia was well represented. Amongst the high ranking officials that attended were Honourable Tommy Nambahu (Deputy Minister of Justice), and Brigadier General Veikko Kavungo accompanied by Ms. Gladice Pickering (Legal Officer – Min. of Justice), Mr. K. O. Simbwae (Acting Deputy Director – Min. of Health), Ms. Magrita Diergaardt (from Min. of Health), Mr. Obert Mutabani (Statistician), Mr. Primus Shilunga (Disaster Preparedness Coordinator), and Mr. A. S. Nghifitikeko (First Secretary – Min. of Justice) and Ms S. Nghinamundova (First Secretary) both from Permanent Mission of the Republic of Namibia to the United Nations Office at Geneva).
Meanwhile, a number of commitments were made during the three events. They include the following:
· The Workshop on Resource Mobilisation was a very important one where there was a great deal of sharing of experiences and expertise to foster the sustainability of Red Cross Societies;
· The Workshop on Humanitarian Diplomacy in terms of recognition of the Red Cross Society and its role in Society as an important auxiliary and its relationship with the Government. We did acknowledge the splendid working relationship that exists between our own Red Cross Society with our Government. However, despite the strides made so far, there is room for further strengthening the working relationship;
· The Commission on International Humanitarian Law placed a particular emphasis working with Governments to disseminate information amongst uniformed personnel. The Government of Namibia pledged to carry out extensive study on the Humanitarian Conventions to which Namibia is not yet a State Party and have them brought before the National Assembly for possible ratification. In regard to International Humanitarian Law, we can acknowledge that the Namibia Red Cross Society has developed a very close working relationship with the Ministry of Defence. Likewise, our various Parliamentary Standing Committees are committed to reinforcing the NRCS’ endeavours.
The Conference also demonstrated to the Namibian Delegation, the need to introduce a Disaster Law in Namibia. To that effect, the Ministry of Justice indicated that it is already working on the finalisation of the Disaster Response Bill and they just completed a project on International Disaster Relief Law to examine the readiness of domestic laws to international relief operations, after which recommendations made will be considered for the draft bill.
The participants at the Conference acknowledged the vital role played by men and women of goodwill who volunteer for the work of the Red Cross Movement. It is for this reason that the significance to promote the culture of volunteerism was felt very strongly. Hence the need for Namibia to promote, recognize and extend protection to volunteers, an aspect that is acknowledged and accepted by the Government of Namibia.
On the health sector, the Government and the NRCS further jointly pledged to uphold access to Health care through the furtherance of the following objectives:
· All persons including the financially unable, should have access to medical treatment in Namibia;
· Vulnerable and minority ‘at risk’ groups shall be exempted from paying admission fees to State hospitals in Namibia;
· Treatment for communicable diseases as well as malnutrition shall be free of charge in State health facilities in Namibia; and
· Ante-natal, postal-natal care and infant health services shall be free of charge at all State health facilities in Namibia.
Ms. Dorkas Kapembe-Haiduwa chaired a workshop that was dedicated to commemorating the World HIV and Aids Day. The workshop attracted a number of participants that included speakers from all regions of the world.
On the aspect of Road Safety; there was an extensive discussion which ended in the call for all actors to strengthen the Road Safety Campaign, forming partnerships that would include Government, Namibia National Red Cross Society, Private Sector, Civil Society, and members of the general public. In the light of annual road carnage especially during festivity seasons, this call is both timely and urgent.
Notes to Editors:
Namibia Red Cross Society (NRCS) is a humanitarian organization set up by Act
of Parliament No. 16 of 1991. It is an impartial, neutral and independent organization that has an auxiliary status to the Namibian government. The NRCS is a component of the International Red Cross Red Crescent Movement made up of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) and 185 National Red Cross Red Crescent Societies around the world. The Mission of NRCS is ‘to improve the lives of vulnerable people by mobilizing the power of humanity’ and its Vision is ‘to reduce vulnerability and enhance human dignity through local and global networks’.
For further information and media assistance, please contact:
Ms. Dorkas Kapembe-Haiduwa of the Namibia Red Cross Society
Hon. Prof. Peter H. Katjavivi, MP
Chairman of the Namibia Red Cross Society