Growing numbers of people are affected by armed conflicts and complex crises, and they are increasingly dependent on humanitarian aid. Ever larger numbers of civilians are suffering because of the spread of armed groups and the methods used in armed conflicts. Serious violations of international humanitarian law are becoming increasingly commonplace and humanitarian aid workers are frequently denied access to people in need.
Because its work is based on a policy of neutrality, the ICRC is in many contexts one of the few humanitarian organisations that is respected by all parties to any given conflict. The ICRC, along with the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) and the National Red Cross Society, is the only humanitarian organisation in Myanmar which has access to Rakhine state and the Rohingya population that lives there. This has enabled the ICRC to provide over 200,000 affected people in Rakhine with food rations.
Switzerland's contribution allows the ICRC to provide aid efficiently to people affected by conflict and give targeted support to its delegations in over 80 countries. It also serves to strengthen the Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement. Switzerland supports the Movement with an integral approach and advocates closer cooperation between the ICRC, the IFRC and the National Societies.
As depositary state of the Geneva Conventions, Switzerland has a long history of close relations with the ICRC, which is the most important partner of the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) in the humanitarian field. In addition to the headquarters contribution, Switzerland has earmarked CHF 60.9 million to finance specific ICRC humanitarian operations in 2018. In 2017, Switzerland was the fifth largest contributor to the ICRC's overall budget.
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