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Iraq: An ever-worsening crisis

11-04-2007 News Release 07/49

Geneva (ICRC) – In a report issued today in Geneva, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) expresses alarm about the deteriorating humanitarian situation in Iraq and calls for urgent action to better protect civilians against the continuing violence.

The report entitled  deplores the daily acts of violence such as shootings, bombings, abductions, murders and military operations that directly target Iraqi civilians in clear violation of international humanitarian law and other applicable legal standards. While it argues that the current crisis directly or indirectly affects all Iraqis, the report focuses on the problems of vulnerable groups such as the hundreds of thousands of Iraqis forced to flee their homes and the families that host them.

The report documents the alarming state of Iraqi health-care facilities suffering critical shortages of staff and supplies. Many doctors, nurses and patients no longer dare to go to hospitals and clinics because they are targeted or threatened. The report also underlines that much of Iraq's vital water, sewage and electricity infrastructure is in a critical condition owing to lack of maintenance and because security constraints have impeded repair work.

" The suffering that Iraqi men, women and children are enduring today is unbearable and unacceptable. Their lives and dignity are continuously under threat, " said the ICRC's director of operations, Pierre Krähenbühl. " The ICRC calls on all those who can influence the situation on the ground to act now to ensure that the lives of ordinary people are spared and protected. This is an obligation under international humanitarian law for bot h States and non-State actors. "

Thanks to its close partnership with the Iraqi Red Crescent Society and its recognized status as a neutral and independent organization, the ICRC has been able to supply food and other items essential to the survival of tens of thousands of vulnerable Iraqis. It is currently providing monthly emergency aid for over 60,000 people, with the Iraqi Red Crescent handling the bulk of the distributions. Over the past year the ICRC has also delivered medical supplies sufficient to treat 3,000 war-wounded patients to hospitals across Iraq. ICRC delegates continue to visit thousands of detainees to monitor their situation and treatment and to help them and their families to stay in touch through family visits or by exchanging Red Cross messages.

 
For further information, please contact:
  Dorothea Krimitsas, ICRC Geneva, tel +41 22 730 25 90 or +41 79 251 93 18
  Nada Doumani, ICRC Iraq, tel +964 790 191 6927 or +962 777 399 614