Red Cross concerned by humanitarian violations in Iraq
November 20, 2004
GENEVA – The International Red Cross is “deeply concerned” with the killing of civilians and non-combatants in Iraq and the apparent failures by all sides to respect humanitarian law.
The International Committee of the Red Cross operations director, Pierre Kraehenbuehl, stressed that international law prohibits killing anyone who is not actively taking part in fighting – or has ceased to do so.
“As hostilities continue in Fallujah and elsewhere, every day seems to bring news of yet another act of utter contempt for the most basic tenet of humanity: the obligation to protect human life and dignity,” Kraehenbuehl said in a statement released late Friday.
“We are deeply concerned by the devastating impact that the fighting in Iraq is having on the people of that country,” he said.
The world was shocked this week by the killing of Margaret Hassan, CARE International’s head of Iraq operations and the fatal shooting of a wounded and apparently unarmed man in a Fallujah mosque by a U.S. Marine, Kraehenbuehl said.
No one should use torture or any form of inhuman, humiliating or degrading treatment, he said.
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Kraehenbuehl also stressed that all parties must provide adequate medical care for the wounded – no matter which side they have fought on – and that hostage taking is forbidden in all circumstances.
“If these rules or any other applicable rules of international humanitarian law are violated, the persons responsible must be held accountable for their actions,” Kraehenbuehl said.
The neutral ICRC, whose main job is to help victims of war, has lost contact with people in the city of Fallujah, where much of the recent focus has been because of the fighting between U.S.-led forces and insurgents