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Iraq: Civilians must be spared and the sick and wounded treated

09-11-2004 News Release 04/62

Geneva (ICRC) -- The ICRC reminds all those involved in the armed confrontations in Iraq that international humanitarian law prohibits the killing or harming of civilians who are not directly taking part in the hostilities.

It calls upon all fighters to take every feasible precaution to spare civilians and civilian property and to respect the principles of distinction and proportionality in all military operations.

Deeply concerned about reports that the injured cannot receive adequate medical care, the ICRC urges the belligerents to ensure that all those in need of such care – whether friend or foe – be given access to medical facilities and that medical personnel and vehicles can function without hindrance at all times.

Thousands of Iraqi civilians, including women, children and elderly persons, have fled the fighting in Falluja and taken refuge in the surrounding areas. Many of these displaced   people need   assistance in the form of food, water, shelter and medical care. They should be allowed to return home safely as soon as possible.

The ICRC remains committed to pursuing its humanitarian work in Iraq and urges all parties to facilitate the passage of its aid convoys and the delivery of its neutral assistance to civilians affected by the conflict.

 For further information, please contact:  

 Rana Sidani, ICRC Geneva, tel.: ++4122 730 2432 or ++4179 251 9318  

 Ahmad Rawi, ICRC Baghdad: ++ 964 79 01 916 927