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Gabon: ICRC signs headquarters agreement with government

17-04-2014 News Release 14/62

Libreville/Geneva (ICRC) – The Gabonese government and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) signed an agreement today formalizing the organization's permanent presence in the country.

The headquarters agreement grants the ICRC the privileges and immunities it requires to perform its tasks in accordance with its mandate and the customary working procedures it follows all over the world.

"This is an important step in our assistance for and dialogue with the authorities," said Thomas Merkelbach, head of the ICRC regional delegation for Central Africa, which covers Gabon from Yaoundé. "It's going to enable us to put our humanitarian activities in Gabon on a firm footing."

The ICRC has been working in Gabon since 2011 from an office in Libreville. It works with the authorities to improve conditions in the country's prisons. In April 2013, it signed a cooperation agreement with the justice ministry aiming to improve health in the prisons. It also promotes international humanitarian law among the armed forces and security forces, the authorities, the universities and the media in the country.

The ICRC cooperates with the Economic Community of Central African States, not least by providing support for the training in international humanitarian law of military personnel set to be deployed on peace-keeping missions. In partnership with other components of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement, the ICRC also supports the Gabonese Red Cross Society in its efforts to develop and expand its capabilities.

The headquarters agreement, signed at the foreign ministry in Libreville, enhances the cooperation that has existed since 1992 between the Gabonese government and the ICRC.

For further information, please contact:
Sarah Zagoury, ICRC Yaoundé, tel: +237 99 41 59 45 or +237 99 41 65 79
Davy Onomori, ICRC Libreville, tel: +241 01 74 17 06 or +241 04 64 51 64
Marie-Servane Desjonquères, ICRC Geneva, tel: +41 22 730 31 60 or +41 79 574 06 36