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Gaza: ICRC demands proof that Gilad Shalit is alive

23-06-2011 News Release 11/139

Geneva/Jerusalem/Tel Aviv (ICRC) – Five years after Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit was captured by Palestinian armed groups, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) is more concerned than ever about his fate.

He has been held incommunicado for the entire five years, and his family are still without news of his whereabouts or condition.

"The total absence of information concerning Mr Shalit is completely unacceptable," said ICRC Director-General Yves Daccord. "The Shalit family have the right under international humanitarian law to be in contact with their son."

The ICRC has called on Hamas repeatedly, but unsuccessfully, to allow Mr Shalit to exchange family news with his loved ones. It has also reiterated on several occasions its request for access to Mr Shalit, but Hamas has never acquiesced. Because there has been no sign of life from Mr Shalit for almost two years, the ICRC is now demanding that Hamas prove that he is alive. "Hamas has an obligation under international humanitarian law to protect Mr Shalit's life, to treat him humanely and to let him have contact with his family," said Mr Daccord.

The ICRC continues to make every possible effort to gain access to Mr Shalit or at least to establish contact between him and his family.

For further information, please contact:
Hicham Hassan, ICRC Geneva, tel: +41 22 730 25 41 or +41 79 536 92 57
Ran Goldstein, ICRC Tel Aviv, tel: +972 522 75 75 17
Cecilia Goin, ICRC Jerusalem, tel: +972 52 601 91 50
Nadia Dibsy, ICRC Jerusalem, tel: +972 52 601 91 48