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Grave misuse of the ICRC in campaign on Swiss membership of United Nations

11-01-2002 News Release 02/01

Geneva (ICRC) - The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) has noted the abusive references made to its name, emblem and activities in connection with the referendum on Swiss membership of the United Nations, to be held on 3 March. It wishes to stress that it is a humanitarian organization independent of any State, including Switzerland, and therefore objects to being used as a tool in a political campaign.

Given the major role played by the United Nations in the field of humanitarian action, the ICRC maintains an open and constructive dialogue with its bodies, as it does with member States. Notably, the ICRC cooperates in full independence with certain specialized UN agencies in the best interests of the victims of armed conflict. Consequently, the issue of Swiss membership of the United Nations has no bearing on the essential nature of the ICRC as an organization or on its ability to act.