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Libya: ICRC evacuates journalists from Rixos Hotel

24-08-2011 News Release 11/174

Geneva (ICRC) – The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) helped journalists leave the Rixos Hotel in Tripoli today and led them to safety. The reporters had been unable to leave the hotel for several days.

"We have taken 33 journalists and two other foreign nationals from the Rixos Hotel to a safe place," said Georges Comninos, the head of the ICRC delegation in Libya. "Our recognized role as a neutral intermediary enabled us to carry out this operation. We are glad that everything went smoothly, but we remain concerned about other civilians and journalists who may find themselves in danger."

At around 4.30 p.m. local time, six ICRC staff arrived at the hotel with four vehicles and helped transfer the journalists and the two other foreign nationals to a safe location in Tripoli. They expressed joy and relief at having left the hotel.

Journalists are protected under international humanitarian law. "Media professionals are entitled to the same protection as civilians. They must be protected and respected," said Mr Comninos.

The ICRC, which operates a hotline for journalists on dangerous assignments, had been contacted by several news organizations concerned about the safety and well-being of their staff. Since the beginning of the year, the organization has received around 50 requests for help from media organizations and families of journalists.

For further information, please contact:
Robin Waudo, ICRC Tripoli, tel: +881 622 435 156 or +218 913 066 198
Steven Anderson, ICRC Geneva, tel: +41 22 730 20 11 or +41 79 536 92 50


Photos

Tripoli, Libya. Journalists are evacuated from the Rixos Hotel in an ICRC vehicle on 24 August 2011. 

Tripoli, Libya. Journalists are evacuated from the Rixos Hotel in an ICRC vehicle on 24 August 2011.
© Reuters / P. Hackett

Tripoli, Libya. A cameraman is evacuated by the ICRC from the Rixos Hotel on 24 August 2011. 

Tripoli, Libya. A cameraman is evacuated by the ICRC from the Rixos Hotel on 24 August 2011.
© Reuters / P. Hackett