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Syria: ICRC condemns lack of respect for medical services

16-09-2011 News Release 11/191

Geneva (ICRC) – The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) condemns the lack of respect for life-saving medical services in Syria.

"Yesterday, a Syrian Arab Red Crescent volunteer succumbed to his wounds almost one week after being injured in the course of performing his duties," said Béatrice Mégevand-Roggo, the ICRC's head of operations for the Near and Middle East. "It is completely unacceptable that volunteers who are helping to save other people's lives end up losing their own."

Two other volunteers were injured in the same incident. Their ambulance was caught in heavy fire while they were evacuating an injured person to a hospital in Homs. This is not the first time Red Crescent personnel and vehicles have come under fire or been otherwise attacked since the onset of the recent violence in Syria.

Medical personnel, ambulances and other means of medical transport must be respected and protected, and their work must be facilitated. The red cross and red crescent emblems must be respected by all.

The ICRC recalls that the red cross and red crescent emblems can only be employed to identify health care personnel, vehicles, and infrastructure that are part of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement, and that carry out exclusively humanitarian activities. All necessary measures must be taken to prevent and repress misuse of the emblems.

The ICRC calls again on all those involved in the violence to do their utmost to respect and facilitate Red Crescent and Red Cross efforts to come to the aid of those in need. Security forces must apply international laws and standards governing the use of force.

For further information, please contact:
Hicham Hassan, ICRC Geneva, tel: +41 22 730 25 41 or +41 79 536 92 57