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Autonomous status for RCS soon

posted on 11/12/2001: 741 views

The UAE Red Crescent Society (RCS) will soon become an autonomous authority as the required legislation is awaiting ratification from President His Highness Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, said a top RCS official.

Khalifa Nasser Al Suwaidi, Chairman of the Board of Directors of the RCS, told Gulf News that the draft legislation had recently been approved by the UAE Council of Ministers (Federal Cabinet). "The law will come into effect after the presidential ratification." But, he said, no change would occur in the society's operations after becoming an authority since it had already been operating on those lines to help suffering humanity all over the globe.

The law gives the RCS the status of a federal authority which shall be a corporate body with financial and administrative independence.

It allows the authority to have its own headquarters with branches in and outside the UAE and also states the aims and ambitions of the authority.

The RCS, which works under the chairmanship of Sheikh Hamdan bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, has achieved an international reputation for humanitarian work without any discrimination.

The International Federation of the Red Crescent and Red Cross Societies has also acknowledged the efforts and work of the UAE RCS, rating it the best among Arab charity organisations and the 7th best in the world, according to an official source at the Ministry of Information and Culture.

The International Federation of the Red Crescent and Red Cross Societies has also opened a logistics and fleet based in the UAE to support its worldwide operations.

The RCS has many branches in the UAE and has been helping the sick, orphans, widows and prisoners for many years. It also organises educational programmes for different audiences in the country, first aid courses and health awareness campaigns.

The society has built mosques and wells and established clinics and orphanages in Yemen, Somalia, Albania, Ghana, Kazakhstan, Kurdistan, Sudan, Chad, Indonesia, and Thailand last year.

In 1999, the society built 50 mosques costing Dh2.3 million, drilled 54 water wells and set up two clinics in Albania and Sudan and two orphanages in Ghana and Thailand at a cost of nine million dirhams, the source reported. It also implemented a Dh83 million aid programme for Kosovo.

Carrying out relief operations for the victims of natural calamities, the society spent Dh15.7 million in 52 countries including Iraq, Sudan, Bangladesh Yemen, Jordan, Chechnya, Tanzania, Kenya, Tunisia, Palestine, Somalia, Kazakhstan, Honduras, Nicaragua, Pakistan, El Salvador, Guatemala, Ethiopia, Georgia and Azerbaijan.

The society also executed an extensive relief programme last year to support the victims of Israeli aggression in the Al Aqsa uprising.

The RCS is currently giving vital relief support to displaced people in Afghanistan and the refugees in different Pakistani cities. It has constructed a huge tented village in Chaman, a Pakistani town close to the border with Afghanistan.

The location for another camp was also selected in October when a RCS delegation visited Pakistan. This one will be in a mountainous area, 120-km from Peshawar.

According to Saeed Mohammed Al Mansouri, the head of the delegation, the project is in line with the instructions of President Zayed who ordered shelter, food and medical supplies to be provided to the Afghan refugees.

A pledge has also made by the society to provide a fund of more than Dh400,000 (US$120,000) for the renovation of the building which provides shelter to hundreds of orphans and food to thousands of Kabul residents through distribution.

The General Exhibition Corporation is running a Ramadan and Eid Festival at the Abu Dhabi International Exhibition Centre to raise funds for the society's relief efforts for the Afghan people.

The festival, inaugurated by Sheikh Hamdan and Her Highness Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak, wife of Sheikh Zayed and Chairperson of the UAE Women's Federation, has already raised millions of dirhams for charity. (The Gulf News)


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