Releases: A reflection of our role as neutral intermediary

In 2022, we handled the release of 63 people who had been in the hands of various armed actors. This is one of the highest figures in recent years. Irrespective of the number of times we take part in these strictly humanitarian operations, every time someone is reunited with their loved ones it is deeply gratifying for us.

To alleviate the suffering of those who are being held by armed actors is one of our priorities. To achieve this, our bilateral and confidential dialogue with all parties to the armed conflicts is fundamental – in addition to security guarantees and respect for our humanitarian work. With these things in place, we can cultivate the right atmosphere to enable people, irrespective of the reasons they are being held, to be set free.

It is crucial that armed actors respect IHL, which in particular protects civilians and individuals who are no longer taking part in hostilities, including those who are being held by a party to a conflict.

Every time we can facilitate or take part in someone's release from captivity, we thank the weapon bearers for their trust in our neutrality, impartiality and independence and our appreciation for their humanitarian gesture.

In 2023, we shall continue our endeavours as neutral intermediaries to facilitate this type of humanitarian operation whenever and wherever possible.