Gordon asks conflict protagonists to respect Red Cross symbol

December 1, 2015 11:01 am 

DAGUPAN CITY, Nov. 30 — Former Senator Richard Gordon has admitted threats on Red Cross personnel as they do their jobs of giving humanitarian help to people who are in need in areas of conflict.

That is why Gordon called on all protagonists of conflicts, including the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) and even the Abu Sayyaf, to respect the international symbol Red Cross by not harming its workers, volunteers and responders in the fields.

"That is supposed to be a protected symbol as Red Cross personnel are working to save people who need help, like the wounded, prisoners who are incarcerated or the so-called internationally displaced persons," he said,

Gordon, who is chairman of the Philippine Red Cross (PRC) for almost 10 years now, said this must be emphasized as some protagonists of conflicts, like war, may be targeting Red Cross workers who are just doing their job of extending humanitarian assistance, like extending help to the wounded and internationally displaced people.

"You feel this threat, for instance in Ukraine and in other areas where wars are going on, where the bullets are sometimes meant to whom it may concerned, but as far as Red Cross is concerned, its people have to do it in order to save lives," he added.

Gordon was accompanied in Pangasinan on Monday to hold a dialogue with Red Cross volunteers. He was accompanied by former Pangasinan third district Rep. Rachel Arenas, a member of the PRC board; and Florame Magalong, administrator of the PRC in Pangasinan.

"We have 152-year history. This (symbol) has always been respected almost but not quite," Gordon told newsmen here in an interview.

He said there is an entity like ISIS but he is not certain whether they will respect the symbol as they are not signatory to the Geneva Convention.

Gordon is leaving for Geneva, Switzerland shortly to attend a disaster forum that will discuss, among other topics, the protection of Red Cross personnel in the fields of conflict.

But in the case of the Abu Sayyaf, he said that he talked to some of them and asked them not to harm PRC workers extending humanitarian assistance in the fields, otherwise they will become an enemy of mankind.

He asked Red Cross personnel in the areas of conflict to be extra-careful as many of those in the ISIS, Abu Sayyaf and other terrorist groups may not be able to understand the Red Cross symbol and the others might have no education. (PNA)

SCS/LVM/LVMICUA/RMA

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