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The ICRC remains in Iraq but is changing how it operates

29-10-2003 Press Briefing

The ICRC confirmed today that it was not pulling out of Iraq following the attack on its offices in Baghdad on Monday.

 
 
Photo  
  The blast left flaming debris and damaged vehicles in the yard    
 
©ICRC/Anthony D. Dalziel
Ref.IQ-E-00454    
   
 
 
  Photo  
  The ICRC delegation office in Baghdad after the attack    
 
©ICRC/Anthony D. Dalziel
Ref.IQ-E-00447    
   
   
  
 

Pierre Krähenbühl, director of operations
©ICRC - 29.10.2003 
 
In a press conference in Geneva, Pierre Krähenbühl, director of operations, said the ICRC had been shocked by Monday's events.
 
" Our commitment to the people of Iraq remains unchanged, " he said, " because they are the ones who are suffering and they have been the main victims of recent attacks, including the one against our headquarters. "
 
Mr Krähenbühl strongly condemned the attack, which had targeted civilians, as a serious violation of international humanitarian law. He said such violations must stop immediately.
 
Monday's attack will have an impact on how the ICRC works in Iraq, but not on its determination to remain operational. The number of international staff is being reduced and all staff, international and national, will be asked whether they wish to carry on working in the current circumstances. The overwhelming majority of ICRC staff in Iraq are Iraqi nationals.
 
No figures on current or future staffing can be given until the present security review has been completed.

The ICRC will take measures to improve its own security, but as an independent and neutral humanitarian organization it will not accept armed protection from the occupying forces.
 
In accordance with its mandate, the ICRC wi ll continue its work protecting and assisting Iraqi civilians, visiting detainees and monitoring implementation of the Geneva Conventions by the occupying powers.