Sidney – Council of Delegates

Sidney, 22/11/2013

General Assembly of the International Federation

Workshop on Fundamental Principles
I would like to add some thoughts to this interesting discussion on the Fundamental Principles. In a world where constitutions and laws change everywhere in a few years’ time, it is wonderful to see how our Principles stand unchanged and nobody has wanted to change them for almost 50 years. I want to underline the terrible unifying force represented by the Principles which are well known and interpreted all over the world.

I think we all should be proud of this. Not only the Principle is important but also his explanation where every word has its role and its right and well balanced place. When we read the Fundamental Principles we should always read their explanations as well. Some National Societies have published some versions modifying the wording and this is not acceptable. If the Principles represent the “Holy Book” of the Movement nobody can modify it! Earlier we discussed whether all the Principles have to be considered on a same level of relevance.

I believe that they are all important, but, in an ideal order, the Principle of Humanity should always be the first. Finally let me spend some words on Neutrality. When the 2020 Strategy mentions the expression “Changing Minds” and when we discuss about advocacy we use a terminology which is not particularly neutral. We advocate in favour of something and, at the same time, against something else. Indeed we should bear well in mind that our neutrality is limited to abstain from taking sides in controversies of a political, racial, religious or ideological nature. We are not neutral concerning human suffering.

We fight and we are partisan against any kind of human suffering! In conclusion I would like to suggest the use of the 50th Anniversary to spread the correct meaning of the Fundamental Principles inside and outside the Movement. My hope is that the Fundamental Principles may remain unchanged also for the next 50 years!