Friday, March 19, 2010

Today I took a class at the Greater Salt Lake Area Chapter of the American Red Cross called International Humanitarian Law, Humanity in the Midst of War. Not only did I learn a lot about International Humanitarian Law (IHL) I also learned about how the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies around the world provide assistance during times of combat.

I started my year of service with the Red Cross in January and everyday I am continually impressed and surprised by the amount of work that is carried out here and abroad. As another volunteer also mentioned today, I feel humbled and excited to be involved with such an amazing organization. Today’s class opened my eyes to the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies and all that they do for the world. Often we are blinded to this international network when we talk about the Red Cross. Many, including myself until today, associate that Red Cross emblem with the United States. However, we are only one of 186 countries with a Red Cross or Red Crescent Society.

International Humanitarian Law’s main purpose is to alleviate the human suffering brought on by war. The Geneva Conventions and the Protocols that have been added protect all victims of war no matter what side of the conflict, what race, religion, gender, or culture they belong to. They provide services to those soldiers in the field and at sea, respect and proper treatment of Prisoners of War and services to civilians affected by conflict.

It is impossible for me to sum up all that I learned and all the services that the International Societies provide. I encourage you all to get further information, resources and facts that can be found on the American Red Cross website

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