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ICRC, IFRC back Ellen’s action

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ICRC IFRCThe International Committee of the Red Cross and the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies have both expressed support to President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf for the recent actions taken at the Liberian National Red Cross Society – LNRCS, following reports of massive corruption there.

President Sirleaf last Tuesday dissolved the Board of Directors of the Liberian Nation Red Cross Society following what the Executive Mansion said, careful review of unfolding events at the Red Cross. The Liberian leader subsequently halted activities of the current Management Team of the LNRCS, and ordered the Police to shut down the entire entity amidst outcry from the Emmanuel O. Kparh leadership, which expressed disgust over the action by the Government, challenging its legality.

But the Executive Mansion says the Head of Delegation and the Acting Head of Country Office of both the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), Julien Lerison and YoucefAitChelloucheon, have respectively expressed concern about credibility and transparency regarding the operations of the LNRCS and declared support for the recent Presidential actions aimed at restoring the image of the Red Cross.

According to a press release, both Julien Lerison and YoucefAitChelloucheonon Friday, March 11, 2016 paid a courtesy call on President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf at her Foreign Ministry Office in Monrovia, and held consultations with the Liberian leader on the current situation involving the Liberian National Red Cross Society (LNRCS).

The two delegations assured President Sirleaf that they stand fully behind her actions and will work with an interim Management team to make the Liberian National Red Cross Society work again for the good of the country and its people. 

They also announced the arrival of a high-level delegation of the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies on Sunday, March 13, 2016 for a three-day visit to Liberia, including a meeting with President Sirleaf.

The Executive Mansion release recalled that leading Red Cross Societies that support the work of the LNRCS, including the German Red Cross, Canadian Red Cross, American Red Cross, Swedish Red Cross, and Norwegian Red Cross, among others have all raised issues about credibility and transparency of the Liberian National Red Cross Society. “We are also concerned about the interest of the staff of the LNRCS who have not been paid for months due the current state of affairs at the LNRCS. With your latest actions Madam President, we can now move to set up an interim Board and complete the interim Management Team so as to start active work again”, they told President Sirleaf.

In response, President Sirleaf reflected on the history and importance of the Red Cross and acquainted the visiting Red Cross officials with the current situation confronting the entity and the actions that have been taken to protect the institution and the reputation of the country.

“We are very surprised at what is unfolding at the LNRCS and are open to working with you to save the entity and redirect focus on its humanitarian goals. You are aware of the Moore Stephens Audit Report and the reactions of the international partners, which have hampered the smooth functions of the LNRCS. We need your advice and cooperation on how to move the process forward”, President Sirleaf requested.

She thanked the ICRC and IFRC for endorsing the presidential actions to protect the Liberian Red Cross Society and assured the two groups of her government’s commitment to see the LNRCS work again. “I am glad to know that you will support the interim Management team at the LNRCS and we look forward to working with you”, she concluded.-Press Release

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