“We are aware that there are people who used the Red Cross emblem to commit crimes. Their vehicles were seized and the criminals arrested”, says Anselme Katiyunguruza, Secretary General of Red Cross in Burundi. He said that on the occasion of the International Red Cross on 8 May, in the capital Bujumbura.
Katiyunguruza says the use of the Red Cross emblem during operations is the only protection available to volunteers and staff of the Red Cross and the International Committee for Red Cross- ICRC. “Access to people in need must be guaranteed at all times, everywhere and for all”, he says.
The Red Cross Secretary General says this emblem must be respected and protected by all and in all circumstances. “Failure to respect the emblem by either party may endanger the rescuers and cost the lives of the wounded what would thus compromise the humanitarian action”, he says.
Katiyunguruza urges Burundian authorities to introduce a law protecting the emblem of the Red Cross in Burundi. “This law would prevent any confusion in an emergency situation. The safety of our volunteers as well as the access to all the victims depends on it”, he says.
Burundi Red Cross has a vast network of more than 600 thousand volunteers that assists the most vulnerable in their communities. Iwacu contacted the police to react on the criminals’ arrest following seizure of the Red Cross fake emblem but in vain.