Israel and the occupied territories: ICRC helps in the release of hostages in Gaza

Statement from ICRC president Mirjana Spoljaric on the release of two hostages and the ICRC's role as a neutral intermediary.
News release 20 October 2023 Israel and the occupied territories

Geneva (ICRC)—The release of two hostages in Gaza today is a sliver of hope. We are extremely relieved that they can be reunited with their family after two weeks of agony.

The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) helped facilitate this release by transporting the hostages from Gaza to Israel, underscoring the real-life impact of our role as a neutral intermediary between the warring parties. More of this kind of humanitarian action is urgently needed so that even more families can be reunited. Many people are still desperately waiting for news of their loved ones.

The ICRC continues to call for the immediate release of all hostages. We are ready to visit the remaining hostages and to facilitate any future release following an agreement reached by the parties.

While held in captivity, hostages must be allowed to receive humanitarian assistance and medical care. They must be given the opportunity to contact their families. Families separated from their loved ones endure agony no matter what side of the divide they are on. Our commitment to helping people who have been kidnapped, detained, or missing is unyielding.

It is essential that warring parties maintain a minimum of humanity even during the worst of war. People in Gaza cannot be kept waiting for desperately needed aid. Hospitals are on the verge of collapse, and families are sleeping in the open with little food and water. We urgently call for a pause in the fighting and for humanitarian aid and first responders to be allowed in. Every hour that passes without increased assistance means more misery and suffering.

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