Chechnya: a tragedy that involves us all
18-12-1996 News Release 96/50
At a meeting with the heads of the Permanent Missions to the UN in Geneva, originally scheduled to launch the ICRC's financial appeals for 1997, ICRC President Cornelio Sommaruga gave the ambassadors details of the previous day's tragic events in Chechnya and condemned " this barbaric act " in the strongest terms. " If we accept that such intolerable behaviour will continue in a climate of indifference, then the intolerable will become the rule. Yesterday's tragedy must be seen from this perspective if it is to have any meaning. It is a challenge to us all: governments, National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, the ICRC and other humanitarian organizations alike. (...) There are clear choices to be made, and clear messages to be given. " Mr Sommaruga concluded: " While it is too early for any definitive decision about the future of our humanitarian action, and in particular about our presence in Chechnya, the reactions of your governments and their support will certainly make a vital contribution to our common effort to preserve an oasis of humanity in the very midst of conflict. "