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Northern Iraq: ICRC prevented from helping the victims

30-03-1995 News Release 95/7

Geneva (ICRC) - On 20 March 1995 the Turkish armed forces launched a large-scale military operation in northern Iraq. As soon as this became known to it, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) approached the Turkish representatives in Geneva to express its grave concern about the plight of the civilians living in the area. The ICRC immediately reminded the Turkish authorities of their obligation to comply with all the provisions of the four Geneva Conventions of 1949, in particular those of the Fourth Geneva Convention on the protection of civilians.

In spite of these formal representations, the Turkish authorities still have not authorized the ICRC to enter the areas affected by the ongoing military operations. The ICRC is therefore unable to carry out an impartial and independent survey of the situation of civilians, nor can it act on behalf of the wounded and captives.

In these circumstances, the ICRC again calls on the Turkish authorities to comply with the terms of the Geneva Conventions, which Turkey has signed, and to immediately authorize the ICRC to conduct its humanitarian mission unhindered.