OIC countries meet to set up humanitarian network
Representatives from 57 countries of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) have come together in Istanbul for the establishment of a network between their Red Crescent and Red Cross national societies in a bid to respond to humanitarian problems and reduce human suffering in the most efficient way across the member states.
“This network will strengthen the Red Crescent-Red Cross movement in the OIC region,” Kerem Kınık, the head of the Turkish Red Crescent (Kızılay), said in the opening speech of the meeting on Jan. 28.
“I believe that this meeting is an important opportunity to discuss our common responsibilities, share our experiences and unite our powers against the humanitarian problems within the OIC region,” he added.
The meeting was opened with a statement from President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.
“Turkey is exerting immense efforts not only to root out terrorist organizations but also to alleviate the effects of the humanitarian crises caused by conflicts,” he said.
“We rush to the aid of the disadvantaged and oppressed across our region, from Somalia to Rakhine, from Gaza to Yemen. We don’t discriminate anyone because of their religion, ethnicity, language or skin color while delivering aid to those in need,” he added.
Kınık stated that the majority of the conflicts in 2015 across the world were documented in the OIC region, which also hosts 61.5 percent of the globally displaced population. He said that 71 percent, or some 90 million, of the people who are in need of humanitarian support live in the OIC countries.
The tragedies in Syria and Yemen alone affect the lives of millions of people through hunger, malnutrition and lack of basic health needs, Kınık stressed, asking, “Can we activate our state mechanisms or OIC bodies through an efficient human diplomacy in order to protect these people?”
The network to be established will mark a first regional initiative to address all these humanitarian challenges through developing a more systematic and close dialogue between all member states, the head of the Kızılay stated.
Gilles Carbonnier, the vice-president of the Red Cross, welcomed the establishment of such a network, stressing the importance of humanitarian approach with regard to this initiative.
“Seventy percent of people in need of humanitarian assistance live in the OIC region. Many of our operations are concentrated in the countries within the OIC region. Conflicts, crises and wars lead to rooted problems. No institution can deal with all these multidimensional and complicated problems alone,” he said.
Cooperation and mutual cohesion are very important in responding to these issues, he said, also underlining the need of capacity-building of civil society organizations in responding to emergency on site.