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Youth united for a better world
11 August 2006

Geneva, Switzerland: Some 50 million young Red Cross and Red Crescent volunteers and members across the world will bring a message of hope and peace to millions of young people on 12 August, International Youth Day.

Many of the International Federation of Red Cross (IFRC) and Red Crescent Societies’ 185 members have organized special events to mark International Youth Day and highlight the essential work of their volunteers in bringing assistance to vulnerable people and promoting humanitarian values and principles.

Red Cross and Red Crescent youth volunteers are putting those principles into action at community level all over the world. Through peer education programmes, they are especially effective in reaching young, marginalized or vulnerable groups, particularly in areas such as fighting the spread of HIV/AIDS, promoting health and care or preparing communities to respond to disasters.

In a statement to mark International Youth Day, Federation President Juan Manuel Suárez del Toro pointed out that young people who give of their time and skills to "take action and try to solve problems they see in their environment, grow up with essential values to contribute to and build a better civil society." The first Fundamental Principle of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement is humanity, he underlined: "It promotes mutual understanding, friendship, cooperation and lasting peace among all people. We see more and more need for these values in the world today, and that is why the investment in future generations is essential."

Paying tribute to the enthusiasm, energy and creativity of young Red Cross and Red Crescent volunteers, President Suárez del Toro stressed the importance of involving young people at all stages of the decision-making process and conception of programmes. "It is up to the adult leaders to listen and to make sure that the new generations are exposed to our humanitarian values. This can only be possible through a constructive and fair inter-generational relationship," he said.

Volunteers will use the occasion of International Youth Day to attract attention to their work and encourage others to participate in the unique humanitarian adventure of volunteering. In closing, the Federation President thanked "all the young Red Cross and Red Crescent volunteers for the spirit they give to our Movement and the value they add to our humanitarian work."