May 27 2010

Time to Update the Red Cross Mandate for the 21st Century

Published by at 2:36 pm under Afghanistan,Canada,Current Events,politics

The Red Cross has provided first-aid kits and training to the Taliban in Afghanistan; yes, those same Taliban who blow Canadians up with IEDs at random intervals.

This may come as a shock to reasonable people who think wounded Taliban ought not to be prevented from letting infection and gangrene take their natural course. Still, it is consistent with the Red Cross mandate.

That mandate is to “protect human life and health, to ensure respect for the human being, and to prevent and alleviate human suffering, without any discrimination based on nationality, race, sex, religious beliefs, class or political opinions.”

Is it not time to update this mandate for the realities we face today? Let’s say we assume (and this is a very debatable premise) that the Taliban represent a legitimate fighting force as opposed to a rag-tag collection of terrorists, bandits and assorted psychotics.

Taliban members are all essentially motivated by an ideology with stated objectives that are completely antithetical to human freedom, happiness and even the right to life (for anyone except a fellow jihadi psycho or their beaten-down family members).

Their leaders, if such an organization can be said to have ones that represent the complete organization (another iffy assumption) have certainly never been a signatory to the Geneva Convention.

Yet according to the IRC’s mandate, they would appear not to have a choice in the matter — they seem obligated to keep helping thugs who have no respect for civil rights or human life.

Simple solution: change the Red Cross charter. Organizational constitutions are not written in stone. They can be amended, usually by a majority or unanimous vote of the executive body. It’s long overdue for the Red Cross to change its mandate to one that does not reward nihilistic aggressors.

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10 responses so far

10 Responses to “Time to Update the Red Cross Mandate for the 21st Century”

  1. Chrison 27 May 2010 at 3:41 pm

    I suppose you’d be the Admiral pushing the Federation to drop the Prime Directive. Kirk wouldn’t stand for it….although he’s broken it millions of times.

    One chink in the armour creates a weakness throughout. I feel this is the same with Red Cross. One exception and their credibility is forever lost, along with the countless good they’ve been able to do because of that exact rule.

  2. Kurskon 27 May 2010 at 4:05 pm

    Does anyone really think that if a Taliban came across a wounded Canadian soldier, that he would use his ‘training’ and medical supplies to tend to him/her?

    Keep dreaming.

  3. Peter Miloton 27 May 2010 at 6:00 pm

    It would be a good idea to revisit their mandate.
    The Red Cross came into being when wars were fought with rules.
    Fascist islamism has been around for a century and it doesn’t fight by any rules we are used to.
    They don’t wear uniforms.
    They don’t recognize the Geneva Conventions.
    They break every rule in the book.
    Does the Red Cross not understand that when one party to a conflict does not adhere to the rules, it ends up aiding and abetting a continuation of the conflict?
    Idealism can be a good thing, except when peoples lives are sacrificed on that altar.
    This fog of moral relativism has to stop.

  4. Louisaon 27 May 2010 at 6:07 pm

    You can demonize the enemy in any war. The suicide-bombing Japanese, the evil Nazis, the heinous Croats, the Commies, the napalm-wielding Americans, the racist fascist Rhodesians.

    The Red Cross stands above the political fray, and they should be commended for that.

  5. Jan Karlsbjergon 29 May 2010 at 12:25 am

    You’re right, of course: Things would be a lot simpler if all people and organizations just did what you want them to do. Never mind their various charters and reasons for being. “Wanting to help everyone,” for example. Pfffft.

    It’s disappointing, nei, reprehensible that so many complete fail to see only your side of every situation!

  6. Dan Hilbornon 29 May 2010 at 11:58 am

    Letting infection and gangrene to take its natural course sounds very much nihilistic aggression to me.

  7. Dan Hilbornon 29 May 2010 at 11:59 am

    Oopsy
    sounds very much like nihilistic aggression …

  8. Hassan Arshadon 30 May 2010 at 5:30 pm

    Let’s just make sure to remember that the IRC is not the same as your local Red Cross chapter.

    I agree with Louisa, they have a charter and they should stick to it. Maybe the Red Cross will actually help some change their minds about their lack of human rights and civil rights for all, although this could just be wishful thinking.

  9. davidon 01 Jun 2010 at 1:44 am

    One reason why the IRC acts to help everyone is that it gives them credibility as a truly neutral party. This allows their medics to help civilians in war zones in some of the most violent areas of the world. Would red cross workers be safe if they made an active choice to not aid one side?

  10. Dan Hilbornon 01 Jun 2010 at 11:08 am

    I believe we have a majority opinion here.

    Therefore let it be resolved, that the International Committee of the Red Cross reaffirm its long-standing mandate to helping the victims of conflicts and internal violence, whoever they are.

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