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Guinea: ICRC appeals for restraint

15-02-2007 News Release 07/18

Geneva/Conakry (ICRC) – Deeply concerned by the situation in Guinea, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) calls on all those involved in the violence that is rocking the country to show restraint and respect the basic principles of humanity.

On 9 February the Red Cross Society of Guinea, with the support of the ICRC and the International Federation, resumed its efforts to rescue the wounded and assist hospitals. So far, several hundred people throughout the country have received help. To relieve the strain on health services, the ICRC has distributed medicine and surgical supplies to the main hospitals, including Donka hospital in Conakry, which has received the largest number of wounded. However, the organization deplores the fact that the present situation is preventing it from carrying out its main activities, in particular the emergency food programme for the Maison Centrale prison in Conakry.

The ICRC wishes to underline the excellent cooperation between the organization and the Red Cross Society of Guinea and the latter's effectiveness since the beginning of the crisis. To ensure that its humanitarian operations are accepted by one and all, the National Society broadcasts messages on local radio stations and works together with religious and traditional institutions to explain its work and the fundamental principles that govern it, in particular the principles of impartiality and neutrality.

" Guineans have been severely affected by the crisis. Dozens of civilians have lost their lives and hundreds more have been wounded, " said Georg Cunz, head of the ICRC delegation in Guinea. Mr Cunz called on all Guineans to " respect the fundamental principles that protect people in situations of violence " and reminded law-enforcement forces that " use of lethal weapons is limited to what is strictly necessary to protect lives. "

The ICRC remains concerned about the dail y plight of the population. The crisis has made it more difficult for Guinean families to meet their basic needs and the organization calls on all parties to guarantee access to food, water and health care.

The ICRC currently has more than 100 staff members in Guinea, including 15 expatriates. It intends to strengthen its capacities so that it can better respond to the humanitarian needs arising from the crisis.

 
For further information, please contact:
  Georg Cunz, ICRC Conakry, tel. +224 6444 9834
  Murielle Gras, ICRC Geneva, tel. +41 22 730 24 58