Now back in Liberia, ICRC calls for fundamental reappraisal (22 April 1996)
30-06-1996 Article, International Review of the Red Cross, No. 312
The Review does not normally report on the ICRC's operational activities in various regions of the world. Situations are constantly changing and news including press reports rapidly becomes outdated. Nevertheless, from time to time the Review would like to publish an ICRC press release or other text dealing with an operational matter which is of more than immediate interest or can serve as an example.
Two delegates of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) arrived in Monrovia from Freetown on Sunday 21 April aboard a helicopter loaded with emergency supplies. The main task of the two delegates, who spent the night outside the city centre, is to support volunteers from the Liberia National Red Cross Society in their work to identify the most pressing needs of the country's people.
This mission has begun eight days after the ICRC delegation's premises, in the Mamba Point neighbourhood, were looted and the delegates were consequently withdrawn. In the present situation there are no plans to base an ICRC team in Monrovia. Working with the ICRC's local Liberian employees and using those vehicles that it has proved possible to recover, the Red Cross will endeavour to take the injured to the city's hospitals and to collect the dozens of bodies that are strewn around the streets, presenting a serious health hazard.
The ICRC feels that the present needs can be met only through a large-scaleoperation, but that no such operation can be carried out unless steps are taken to ensure the safety both of the victims and of those coming to their aid. The humanitarian agen cies'supplies, equipment and vehicles have been regularly and systematically stolen and used to increase the means at the disposal of the warring factions.
In view of the fact that the civilian population has been spared no suffering or humiliation over the past six years - and in particular since the present fighting started on 6 April - the ICRC feels that a thorough reappraisal is needed. It therefore calls on the community of States to take into account the particular nature of this type of conflict in its urgent search for ways to restore order and stability.
ICRC, Press Release No. 96/15
22 April 1996