Red Cross youth highlight challenges ahead
Some 240 Red Cross and Red Crescent youth volunteers have handed over a formal humanitarian declaration to the international community in Geneva.
The youngsters had travelled by foot and by bus from Solferino in northern Italy to Geneva to present leaders with a message outlining solutions for today's humanitarian challenges.
The declaration covers a wide range of issues including HIV and climate change. The aim is to encourage leaders to better recognise the potential of young people as "agents of change" and to include them in decision-making and planning processes.
The message was officially handed over on Thursday to Geneva State Councillor François Longchamp, speaker of the Swiss House of Representatives Chiara Simoneschi-Cortesi and Deputy Director-General of the United Nations Office at Geneva Jan Beagle at a public ceremony.
The volunteers arrived in Geneva on Wednesday after completing a 435km trip from Solferino, where thousands of people had been commemorating the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Solferino, which led to the birth of the Red Cross.
Jakob Kellenberger, head of the International Committee of the Red Cross, welcomed their initiative, saying: "You have not only physically travelled, you have also progressed psychologically by becoming actively involved."
The volunteers had also been taking part in the third World Red Cross and Red Crescent youth meeting in the historical town from June 23-28.
Red Cross founder Henry Dunant witnessed the Battle of Solferino and its aftermath in 1859 and was moved by the lack of adequate medical care and helped wounded soldiers. He documented his experiences in his landmark book, A Memory of Solferino, which proved inspiration for the creation of the Red Cross and the Geneva Conventions.
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