It's a day to be remembered of the 90 million odd volunteers belonging to the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement, who are the back bone of the movement, and whose helping hand is very much essential for providing assistance and support for the needy all over the world.
These unsung heroes are richly deserved for the personal sacrifices they make, even risking their lives at times, in order to help others tirelessly.
The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, the International Committee of the Red Cross, and the Movement's 183 National Societies will celebrate annual World Red Cross Red Crescent Day on 8 May, 2006, by paying tribute to the millions of volunteers who provide universal assistance to people in need.
"Volunteers are the backbone of our work," said Juan M. Suárez del Toro, the president of the International Federation. "They symbolize the power of humanity and without them, we would not be able to carry out our life-saving emergency activities or fulfill our day-to-day objective of protecting human dignity."
The president of the International Committee of the Red Cross, Jakob Kellenberger, said that volunteers also played a key role in ensuring humanitarian protection and assistance for the victims of conflict and armed violence.
"In many dangerous conflicts around the world, the ICRC would find it difficult to carry out its work to protect and assist civilian victims, help the wounded, put separated families back together or visit detainees, without the active support of volunteers. Their local knowledge and involvement, and above all their courage, often makes the difference," Kellenberger said.
Around the world, Red Cross and Red Crescent volunteers are active in a diverse range of activities, from alerting the public to the danger of landmines in Afghanistan to fighting the stigma and discrimination related to HIV/AIDS in southern Africa.
They also regularly come to the aid of millions of people affected by natural and man-made disasters, such as the Pakistan earthquake, the Darfur crisis and hurricanes in the Americas, while providing ongoing support to the survivors of the Asia tsunami.
"Volunteers are the messengers and implementers of our humanitarian mission to millions of vulnerable people around the world," said Kellenberger and Suárez del Toro said in a joint statement marking World Red Cross Red Crescent Day.
"They reflect the global diversity of the Red Cross and Red Crescent and embody the Movement's universal commitment that humanity must prevail in the face of conflict or catastrophe," they concluded.