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Croatia: the ICRC closes its office after 16 years of work

13-04-2007 News Release

The ICRC is closing its office in Zagreb, Croatia after 16 years of continuous presence in the country.

 The following was issued as a press release by the ICRC regional delegation in Budapest on 13 April 2007  

    

'The closing of the office does not mean the end of all ICRC operations in Croatia,'says François Stamm, ICRC's head of operations for North America, Western and Central Europe.

'The ICRC will continue to visit a small number of detained persons, it will also support the Croatian Red Cross (CRC) in carrying out its humanitarian work, which includes the responsibility of helping families to find out what happened to relatives that went missing during past armed conflicts.'

Recently, the ICRC published a book containing the names of 2,384 people still unaccounted for more than ten years after the end of the conflict. The ICRC hopes the book will serve as a tool to help find out what happened to these people and to eventually provide long-awaited answers to their families.

Nonetheless, the ICRC no longer requires a permanent base in Croatia in order to carry out these tasks. From now on, it will manage its work in Croatia from its regional delegation in Budapest and from other offices in south-eastern Europe. Mr Stamm thanked the hundreds of staff and volunteers who worked for the ICRC in Croatia over all those years, some of whom now work for the ICRC in conflict situations around the world.

The ICRC set up its delegation in Cr oatia in response to the conflict that broke out in the former Yugoslavia in 1991. In the early 1990s, it visited thousands of detainees and on different occasions acted as neutral intermediary between the warring parties. The ICRC also provided food and medical aid, reunited separated families, transferred hundreds of thousands Red Cross messages between separated relatives, and strived to shed light on the fate of missing persons.

 For more information, please contact:  

 Marcin Monko, ICRC regional delegation for Central Europe, tel: +36 202 499 985  

 Florian Westphal, ICRC Geneva, tel: +41 22 730 22 82 or +41 79 217 32 80