Although the iconic Red Cross is a symbol for comfort and care worldwide, it is perhaps less well-known that the Red Cross is actually implicated in some of the most important International Humanitarian Laws (IHL) currently guiding global humanitarian policy. In fact, the very formation of the Red Cross is related to a specific component of the Geneva Convention that required the creation of a neutral body to provide care to those wounded on the battlefield.
The history of the international humanitarian services of the Red Cross, as well as current issues affecting the organization’s services abroad, are the subjects of this month’s Lunch and Learn lecture, featuring a presentation and Q&A session with IHL expert and International Services manager Tim Bothe. For Bothe, the Lunch and Learn talk is a way to help uphold the Geneva Convention’s responsibilities for the Red Cross.
WHAT: Red Cross International Humanitarian Law Lunch and Learn
WHEN: 2-3 p.m., Wednesday, Dec. 18
WHERE: American Red Cross, 444 Sherman Street, Denver, CO
RSVP: To Tim.Bothe2@redcross.org.
“The Red Cross is the only non-government entity that has any specific roles as spelled out in the Geneva Conventions,” Bothe said. “So, we are to educate the populace as to the Geneva conventions, as well as perform our specific roles during wartime.”
Bothe has instructed courses in IHL for the Red Cross for five years and is an international IHL mentor with the organization. Bothe has an academic background in international humanitarian work, and “jumped at the chance” to apply his education to specifically international work at the Red Cross.
Part of the lecture planned for Wednesday will include a discussion of how International Humanitarian Law plays a role in the daily lives of American citizens. “The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan may not have a direct impact on everyday life,” Bothe said. “But they have an indirect impact, in things like The Patriot Act and Drones, The War on Terror. Those things do impact our daily lives, so we want to talk about the policies impact our lives and what IHL says about those policies.”
The Lunch and Learn lecture is aimed at raising awareness and volunteer interest as well simply as informing interested parties of the effect of IHL on the services of the Red Cross. Bothe said that International Services is an essential component of the organization, and one that needs informed volunteers for casework and outreach.
“When you ask people what they know about the Red Cross, people think disaster, health and safety courses, very rarely do you get someone who knows about international services, or the services to the armed forces, so we always need to educate people on the breadth of what we do as an international organization,” Bothe said.
Lunch and Learn events are free and open to the public. Attendees must RSVP to the event, but for some events, Webex or Skype may be used to remotely connect to the conversation.