Dear Sir,

 

Pease find attached a statement from the International Committee of the Red Cross.

 

We thank you in advance for posting it on your website.

 

Regards

 

The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) is dismayed by the two statements of the Baath Party published on 25/12/05 and on 12/01/06, and we need to clarify the following points:

 

In spite of the prevailing security situation and the recent loss of several colleagues in violent attacks, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC)  has maintained a continuous presence in Iraq for over two decades with the sole aim of providing humanitarian assistance to those in need.  It is precisely ICRC independence and neutrality that have allowed it to operate in Iraq, and elsewhere, regardless of the authorities in charge.

 

Since 1980, the ICRC has been carrying out its humanitarian work in Iraq independently and in full transparency. It has strived to alleviate the impact of sanctions on the Iraqi population in the 90's.  Since 2003, the ICRC has visited more than 20'550 people detained and interned by the Multinational Forces in Iraq, with the aim of improving conditions of detention and maintaining the link between detainees (and internees) and their families. It is worth noting that the ICRC delegates visited Camp Cropper 19 times since May 2003. Numerous interventions and representations have been made to the detaining authorities, based on our observations during detention visits. These interventions are confidential, as is the case in some 80 countries where the ICRC visits detainees.

 

The ICRC role is to remind the detaining authorities of their obligations and responsibilities under international law and see to it that persons detained are treated humanely. Therefore, the ICRC can in no way be held responsible for the violations committed by the detaining authorities whoever they are; yet, it spares no effort to ensure that those responsible abide by the law, while acknowledging the limits of its mandate. 

 

Many testimonies by former detainees in and outside Iraq, who have been visited by ICRC delegates, bear witness to the improvements the ICRC interventions could bring and the benefit of its visits. Moreover, the Red Cross messages exchanged via the ICRC remain often the only link between detainees and their families.

 

The serious accusations entailed in the two communiqués are baseless and unacceptable. They can only hamper ICRC work in favour of detainees and hinder our humanitarian work in favour of Iraqis who are currently in dire need for assistance and help.

 

17.01.06


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