Anchoring the Auxiliary Role in Laws and Policies
Ariel Kestens, IFRC Head of Delegation for the Dutch- and English-Speaking Caribbean, noted that Red Cross’ preparedness efforts imply coordinating the response with the authorities and advocating for two things: (i) the recognition of the auxiliary role of the Red Cross in laws and policies; (ii) to be granted the legal facilities that we need to operate effectively, through Legal Status Agreement, MoUs with the authorities and International Disaster Response Laws.
IFRC’s Coordinator for Legal Advocacy and Auxiliary Role in The Americas, Sophie TEYSSIER; Legislative Advocacy Adviser, Stacy Cummings; and Disaster Law Officers, Rebeca Muñoz and Jessie Jodan focused the session on:
IFRC Guide to strengthen auxiliary role
The IFRC secretariat has been playing an active role in assisting national societies with advancing their auxiliary roles, ensuring they are recognized not just in the relevant Red Cross acts but also in sectoral regulations relevant to the role of the Red Cross, such as health, disaster risk management, social welfare and migration. To this end, IFRC has developed a guide to strengthening the auxiliary role through law and policy. The guide provides a refresher on the auxiliary role and highlights the main elements of the Red Cross Red Crescent Model Law.
Law and Public Health Emergencies
With the COVID-19 pandemic, states have been forced to apply legislation to impose restrictions on freedom of movement, assembly, closure of borders, curfews, lockdowns etc. IFRC engaged in a research project to assess current legislation and instruments governing public health in emergencies (PHEs) and develop recommendations.
The report will be launched July 8, 2021 and will serve as a new resource to assist national societies to support their governments to improve disaster-related laws and policies. The document includes key recommendations in the areas of international health regulations, domestic legal and institutional frameworks, PHE risk management and DRM frameworks, States of Exception, role of law in mitigating secondary impacts and vulnerable groups, and legal facilities for humanitarian actorsds and equipment.
Legislative Advocacy Toolkit
IFRC has been working with national societies to increase their capacity to advocate for law and policy actions on behalf of those most affected by disasters and public emergencies. This includes developing tools such as the Legislative Advocacy Toolkit. This has been used around the world to assist national societies to develop and implement their own advocacy strategies and goals. The tool is also used to offer training in legislative advocacy to national societies.
Sharing of Honduras Experience
There was a need to create a law that would allow the Red Cross and the humanitarian world to have the necessary tools to respond. The law was approved in order to bring urgent help to the most vulnerable and was key to responding to the communities affected by hurricanes Eta and Iota. Members of all political parties, regardless of their political affiliation, voted in favor of this normative framework thanks to which the Honduran Red Cross is now better equipped to carry out its work and the state has a greater understanding of the auxiliary role of the Red Cross.