04 December 2019
Henry Dunant Medal awarded to British Red Cross Head of International Law Michael Meyer OBE
Leading international humanitarian law expert and British Red Cross Head of International Law, Michael Meyer OBE, has been awarded the highest honour in the Red Cross Movement.
He was presented with the Henry Dunant Medal on behalf of the Standing Commission of the Red Cross and Red Crescent at a special ceremony in Geneva today (4 December 2019).
The Medal, which bears the name of the founder of the International Red Cross, recognises ‘outstanding service and acts of great devotion’ that have an international humanitarian impact. No more than five Henry Dunant Medals are awarded in a 2-year period.
Michael Meyer has made an extraordinary contribution to the British Red Cross and the Movement. He has been responsible for, or worked on, a range of landmark achievements during his 37-year career. These include:
- The UK’s ratification of the 1977 Additional Protocols to the Geneva Conventions, and the adoption of many pieces of domestic international humanitarian law-related legislation
- The founding of an internationally renowned summer school on international humanitarian law at Cambridge University
- Support for the creation of the UK’s Inter-Departmental Committee on international humanitarian law.
Michael’s extraordinary expertise in both international law and the statutes and governance of the Movement has been instrumental in guiding and shaping the Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement’s approach to a range of humanitarian law and policy issues.
Examples include his active role in the development and adoption of the Red Crystal emblem, as an alternative to the Cross or Crescent, and the process by which Israel’s emergency response organisation Magen David Adom and the Palestine Red Crescent Society could be admitted to the Movement.
He founded the Commonwealth Red Cross and Red Crescent Conference on international humanitarian law and led the European network of National Society legal advisers for many years, as well as mentoring similar networks in both Africa and the Asia-Pacific.
Michael’s recognised expertise in the law and practice related to use of Red Cross Movement emblems guided both the British Red Cross and the UK Government’s approach, as well as their use internationally.
On receiving the Medal, Michael Meyer said:
“It is truly a great honour to receive this award. The Red Cross and Red Crescent and International Humanitarian Law, are about hope, unity and our common humanity. I have been privileged to feel a calling for my Movement work. To receive a medal for doing what one loves is a bonus.”
“I wish to thank the British Red Cross and all those who supported my nomination, and with whom I have worked throughout the years. So long as we remain true to who we are, I am sure that, together, the Movement will continue to make a positive and practical difference to people in need and serve as a beacon, and reassurance, to our world.”
George Weber, Chair of the Standing Commission of the Red Cross and Red Crescent, presented the award to Michael Meyer and said:
"Michael Meyer has given the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement almost four decades of outstanding service in the fields of international humanitarian law and policy."
"Mr Meyer has led and championed many initiatives across the Movement. He founded the Commonwealth Red Cross and Red Crescent Conference on international humanitarian law and the European network of National Society legal advisers, giving impetus to similar networks in Africa and Asia. Mr Meyer also founded a biennial summer school on international humanitarian law at the University of Cambridge. These networks are essential for sharing expertise in humanitarian law and strengthening National Societies in carrying out their legal work.development."
"Through his inspiring work ethic and generosity of spirit, Mr Meyer embodies the Fundamental Principles, and he continues to engage people from all walks of life about the values of the Movement."
British Red Cross CEO Mike Adamson said:
“We’re all extremely proud that Michael Meyer has been awarded the Henry Dunant Medal – the highest awards of the Movement and British Red Cross. This is fitting recognition for someone who works tirelessly for the Red Cross, and who is at the same time authoritative, respectful, influential, humble, quietly spoken and effective. Michael has shown himself to be one of the world’s biggest champions of international humanitarian law”.
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