IRCS to Support Refugees
Cairo (IRCS) – In his address at MENA Humanitarian Leadership Conference in Cairo, Egypt, the President of the Iranian Red Crescent Society (IRCS) stressed that the Society will continue its support for refugees and migrants despite sanctions.
The full text of Dr Kolivand speeches reads follows:
Ladies and Gentlemen
At the beginning of 21st century and within the global scale; risks, negative impacts, natural disasters, death toll, damages, conflicts and violence are increasing throughout the world. These considerable trends which have been escalated with the challenges like climate change, poverty and inequality as well as unstable urban development have increased vulnerabilities in human communities and consequently emerged mounting humanitarian disasters. Today, population movement, displacement and migration of people due to climate change consequences such as drought, dust storm, flood and lack of water are vivid and inevitable facts.
Dear Audiences / Ladies& Gentlemen
Here in between the role of organizations and humanitarian entities would be crucial and remarkable due to constant and close contact with people and access to vulnerable local communities, and for capacity of resource mobilization and humanitarian assistance in implementing development measures for saving and fostering vulnerable people. With having long time experience in humanitarian and community based assistance, humanitarian organizations including Red Cross/Red Crescent Societies could be efficient and trustee partners for state authorities regarding protection of vulnerable and affected people such as displaced people, refugees and migrants.
The Iranian RC like its counterparts have moved forward in line with alleviation of human suffering and respecting the human dignity and has done its utmost to properly accomplish its humanitarian and moral responsibilities and commitments at national and international level. As you are well aware, due to regional and international disasters of recent decades, Iran has been placed in a disastrous region concerning population movement, refugees and migration issue.
Enjoying long borders and common belief/culture with the neighboring countries as well as diversities and suitable living opportunities inside the country, Iran has been turned to one of the significant immigrant countries especially within the current decades and following to the conflicts around us. The Iranian RC as an independent humanitarian organization and auxiliary to the state was pioneer in service provision and enjoys lasting background in the same field. What makes the role of National Society more colorful would be Iran’s performing role as origin, transit and destination of the refugees and migrants. Undoubtedly, each and every one of the aforesaid roles create specific challenges for state authorities and the Iranian RC.
Bilateral or multilateral cooperation of the International Movement members and other partners in response operation, could achieve humanitarian objectives. Promoting the role of the humanitarian factors would be possible and come true, under the shadow of motivation and learning spirit of experience of yesterday and merging them with modern initiatives and ideas.
Based on previous experience, the Iranian RC is aware of the complication of different aspects of refugees and migrants issues and necessity of organized and synergy measures by all responsible organizations. That is why we constantly have specific attention to cooperation with other partners in order to address the vulnerable people needs at national and international levels and we open our arms for fulfilling our objectives and missions. Currently, more than 4 Million of refugees live in Iran and the Iranian RC has made efforts to provide proper services to them.
I would like to point out a few considerable points for humanitarian organizations and National Societies in this meeting. Defining and explaining the roles and responsibilities of humanitarian organizations and National Societies in disaster response and migrants issue are essential at organizational and operational levels. Taking into consideration the existing capacities and upward rules as well as complication of specific condition of displaced, refugees and migrants, National Society’s roles and functions should be fully specified and all its activities should be made within this framework.
According to defined responsibilities and missions in the framework of International Movement’s principles and rules, the Iranian RC has properly provided protective and advocacy measures like awareness for disasters, mine risk awareness, basic living items, facilitation for education of students and medical services to the displaced, refugees and migrants.
In recent years, the Iranian RC development and welfare programs have been provided equal opportunities for different walks of refugees such as education service provision for all migrants’ children; however, you may confirm that in spite of the presentation and rendering services for supporting refugees and migrants, occurrence of new challenges like Covid – 19 and its impact, will turn the refugees and migrants to the most vulnerable minority in the community and expose them to the high risks of disasters.
To this purpose and in line with the Iranian RC membership in Corona National Headquarter, the National Society could collect vaccine injection approval for legal and illegal migrants.
In this regard and relying upon previous experience, The Iranian RC comprehensively began its protective role and took responsibility role for disseminating individual education, monitoring the performance of health protocols, and distributing protective items for the elderly and especial patients who were mostly prone to diseases. National Society youth and volunteers were deployed and stationed in crowded areas and protective/monitoring health programs were implemented within a few months. The Iranian RC leadership in training and raising public awareness towards disasters’ risks has made the role of volunteers and youth more colorful than before. In the framework of organizational structure, the centers called “House of Crescent” (Helal House) have been established for attracting local people membership for playing significant role for raising awareness. This means that the local communities would be the first responders and will be prepared for any responses to disasters in their communities. Local communities practically experience volunteerism with their presence in aforementioned houses. In this line, the same “Houses of Crescent” will do a big favor to migrants and refugees in line with training and provision of health/relief services in provinces which are welcomed the immigrants and refugees.
The Iranian RC through mobilizing charities and establishing their connection with hospitals abundant with Covid -19 patients could well play its role as an establishment of bridge between requirements of the needy and the capacity of the capable. The needs of hospitals were being protected by charity organizations and equipment along with resources was dispatched to them. National Society’s volunteers were introduced to them for their service provision and the charity organizations throughout the country, could mobilize their resources and distribute protective items among migrants.
One of the National Society’s initiatives during this time was establishment of Equipment Fund throughout the country. The same Fund is equipped by all required equipment through donors. In this line, many patients who did not require specific medical treatments were released from hospitals and were treated and cared at homes with equipment like oxygen concentrators and ventilators through National Society’s volunteers. It helped to leave the burden of hospitals for treatment of the critical patients.
Furthermore, National Society did its utmost and imported 130 million doses of vaccine to the country by playing its role as auxiliary to the state and in coordination with Ministry of Health and vaccine producer companies. Assisting for getting the people vaccinated throughout the country, National Society allocated especial centers for vaccination of the migrants and displaced and other foreigners in the country.
The IRCS deployed volunteers for monitoring road, air, and sea borders of the country as member of the Corona National Headquarters through which travelers were being screened and necessary measures were made for quarantine.
I would like to mention that due to restriction of resources we had to call off most of our daily activities and pre planned programs in a way that assigned programs especially during Covide – 19 outbreaks, not to face big challenge considering grave reduction of resources due to financial and non-financial sanctions. Access restrictions to resources due to sanctions is a big barrier for on time access in receiving helps that consequently slows down relief rendering to the affected people and migrants / refugees communities.
Moreover, I would like to declare that the Iranian RC is prepared to present its experience to all and is hopeful to be a proper help for your good selves as a little member of the Movement. I grab the opportunity and thank cordially for support and cooperation of the National Societies, IFRC, and ICRC which backed up the Iranian RC in implementing its humanitarian programs against disasters.
Finally, I may refer to a few points under lessons learned.
- Clarifying roles and specified mandate of National Societies and establishing modalities by authorities would be significant.
- Strengthening the advocacy role of National Societies in service provision would be taken into account as effective elements in service provision.
- Mobilizing local humanitarian bodies and establishing their connection with beneficiaries could contribute to efficient service provision.
- Providing equal and identical service among the displaced and refugees and hosting community would be counted as successful factors in reduction of vulnerability in society.
- Promoting the quality of planning, knowledge and human resources’ skill as well as equipment for new complicated disasters including biologic disasters like Covid – 19 would be advised.
- Efforts for easing restrictions and sanctions for achieving humanitarian goals and objectives are necessary.