The Governing Board of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) has voted to suspend the membership of the Hellenic Red Cross. In an announcement on Thursday, the IFRC said the suspension of membership will come into force on 1 January 2019 “if Hellenic Red Cross is unable to address concerns related to its governance.”
Following this decision, the IFRC has been asked to develop a transition plan over the next three months to ensure that services to vulnerable communities do not suffer.
The decision follows the non-completion of the long standing recovery plan over the past 10 years. Recent critical steps were promised by Hellenic Red Cross and accepted by IFRC in October 2017 and they must be urgently addressed:
Complete revision of the Hellenic Red Cross’ 1965 Statutes
A campaign to open up and expand the HRC’s membership base
The convocation of a General Assembly, before 15 October 2018, to hold elections for its Board in accordance with its new statutes.
In announcing the suspension, IFRC President Francesco Rocca said:
“This was not a decision taken lightly. However, after many supportive initiatives over the past 10 years, we must ensure that the Hellenic Red Cross governance takes the necessary steps to rebuild the National Society, in accordance with the standards of our Movement.
Let me stress: IFRC’s commitment to the people of Greece, including those who rely on the Red Cross for support, remains absolute. IFRC will work to ensure that this decision does not compromise Red Cross support to vulnerable communities.”
“I reiterate my unwavering commitment to continue to accompany and support the brave Hellenic Red Cross volunteers in their humanitarian journey,” he said.
This decision means that, unless progress is made, on 1 January 2019 Hellenic Red Cross will lose its rights as a member of IFRC, including its right to be represented at and participate in different IFRC bodies, including the General Assembly, the announcement said.
It also underlined the IFRC’s continued commitment to “supporting the renewal of an effective, vibrant and viable Hellenic Red Cross,” saying it would continue to work closely with Greek authorities and monitor progress in the agreed plan of action, while urging volunteers and members “to remain engaged in the renewal of their National Society.”