Introduction to International Humanitarian Law
More than any other line of service, International Services is about connections. The Red Cross is not an organization, but a movement. Together with 170 sister societies across the globe, we share a humanitarian mission and a unity of purpose.
The American Red Cross of Northern Utah is an important part of the world-wide network, providing tracing services, and International Humanitarian Law Instruction.
International Services provides programs focusing on the complex multi-cultural issues facing the world community. We enabled students to reach out to children their own age with the Measles Initiative.
International Humanitarian Law
International humanitarian law (IHL), which protects man against the consequences of war, is of concern to all of us. This law, however, is not sufficiently well known. When can it be invoked and what measure of protection does it afford?
International humanitarian law instruction answers these basic questions:
You may wish to learn more about IHL and the protection it offers victims of war, become actively involved with humanitarian organizations in your community working on their behalf, or participate in public education activities. By sharing this information with others, you are already helping build greater awareness of IHL, and the need for humanity in the midst of war. By being informed, you contribute to the chance for peaceful resolution of conflicts.
By understanding the difference IHL means to millions of people around the world and close to home, you help strengthen these humanitarian rules. You can do this by:
You can make a difference. Once you've learned what a difference IHL makes, you become a vital link in a chain of commitment to support humane treatment for all those caught up in armed conflict.
Contact the Northern Utah Chapter for more information about IHL educational materials and opportunities.
Each year, a disease barely remembered by most Americans kills nearly one million children, a half million of those in Africa alone. This fact makes measles the single leading cause of vaccine-preventable death among children in Africa - more than AIDS, more than tuberculosis, and more than malnutrition. In a place where health conditions are extremely poor, living conditions are more than difficult, and access to health care is minimal, measles can be easily prevented with a simple vaccination that costs less than a dollar per child.
The Measles Initiative is a long-term commitment to control measles deaths in Africa by vaccinating 200 million children, preventing 1.2 million deaths over five years. Leading this effort are the American Red Cross, United Nations Foundation, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, World Health Organization, and United Nations Children's Fund. Other key players in the fight against measles include the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, and countries and governments affected by measles.
Contact the Northern Utah Chapter for more information about how your school or group can participate in the Measles Initiative.
The Northern Utah Chapter of the American Red Cross not only provides international relief to victims of conflict and disasters by supplying food and clothing, we also address the anguish and psychological wounds sustained. One way the American Red Cross provides these services is to assist people separated from family due to war or disaster to locate, communicate with, and, often, facilitate their reunion with relatives.
The International Social Services (ISS) division, Office of International Services, links the person in the U.S. at the Northern Utah Chapter with the resources of the International Committee of the Red Cross and the Red Cross network.
How Tracing and International Social Services Works: The key to the service is the Northern Utah Chapter (or other local chapter) or the Red Cross office on U.S. military installations. The social service staff and volunteers work with the individual to secure information about the lost relative and the circumstances during the war that created the separation. The inquiry is then sent by the ISS Division to the appropriate Red Cross or Red Crescent Society, Magen David Adom, or the International Committee of the Red Cross.
Some inquiries take several months, some several years to resolve. Some inquiries may never be successfully answered. Searching for lost family members often moves beyond the actual time of the war. Often the most miraculous events take place with sisters finding a brother whom they have not seen since WWII, or a Rwandan refugee receiving a Red Cross message that assures him his family has survived. And each day, in chapters across the country, American Red Cross workers participate in these miracles by locating family members at the request of other Red Cross Societies.