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ICRC president visits former Yugoslavia

07-08-1995 News Release 95/37

Geneva (ICRC) - The President of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), Cornelio Sommaruga, is travelling to the former Yugoslavia today, Monday 7 August. His visit is prompted by the recent events in Croatia and Krajina and the resulting mass exodus of refugees to Banja Luka and Prijedor on the one hand, and by the displacement of the population of Srebrenica and Zepa to central Bosnia on the other.

During his week-long stay Mr Sommaruga will have talks with the authorities in Belgrade, Sarajevo, Zagreb and Pale. The purpose of his mission is to obtain firm commitments from the various parties that they will protect and respect all categories of vulnerable people - displaced persons, refugees, prisoners, and minorities. He will also tackle the issue of opening access routes for humanitarian relief convoys and ensuring their security.

Mr Sommaruga intends to obtain pledges from both the military and the civilian authorities that they will ensure respect for international humanitarian law in its entirety.

The ICRC President will also be travelling to the regions where most of the victims of the recent events in the former Yugoslavia have taken refuge, in particular Tuzla and Banja Luka.