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Philippines: ICRC to consolidate efforts in 2010

16-02-2010 News Release 21/10

ICRC (Manila) – The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) today renewed its commitment to the Philippines, with plans to increase work in jails and prisons, boost awareness of international humanitarian law (IHL) and continue its assistance and protection activities across the country in 2010.

Jean-Daniel Tauxe, head of the ICRC delegation in the Philippines, explained that the ICRC works with national agencies to address overcrowding in detention and its consequences on inmates'health and living conditions. Together with the Philippine Red Cross (PRC), the ICRC will continue to strengthen respect for IHL in the country.

" Our dialogue with the authorities in the Philippines has resulted in two significant breakthroughs: bringing together various government agencies in an effort to decongest jails, with a national conference to be held in March, and the enactment of the'Philippine Act on Crimes Against International Humanitarian Law, Genocide, and Other Crimes Against Humanity,'" he pointed out.

The ICRC also welcomed the resumption of peace talks between the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), remaining hopeful that some 100,000 displaced people will soon return to their homes in Central Mindanao.

" While the situation remains unclear for those who are not going home, we will continue providing them with food and basic necessities, as well as improving access to healthcare, clean water and sanitation for displaced and resident communities, " said Tauxe of the civilians who were displaced when fighting broke out in August 2008.

The ICRC is an independent humanitarian organization that aims to protect and assist victims of armed conflict and other situations of violence, without discrimination. Since starting work in the Philippines in 1982, the organization's activities have diversified in response to different situations across the country.

This year the ICRC continues to help the PRC enhance its capability to respond to major disasters, to violence linked with armed conflict and to other emergencies.

" The role of the ICRC in the Philippines has evolved, but we will continue to protect and assist the victims of conflict and to promote international humanitarian law among parties to armed conflicts, " Tauxe said.

For further information, please contact:
  Anastasia Isyuk, ICRC Manila, tel: +63 918 907 21 25