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Nepal Red Cross ambulances seized

29-04-2002 News Release 02/27

Geneva (ICRC) – The Nepal Red Cross Society and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) are dismayed at last week's seizure by groups of armed men of ambulances belonging to the Society.
More than ever, the ICRC is committed to ensuring that all wounded and sick people have access to medical services. Medical personnel – whether military or civilian – must be allowed to go about their duties freely and in safety. Medical activity must be protected, respected and facilitated. This is possible only if ambulances – in this case those of the Nepal Red Cross – can move around unobstructed and securely.
The red cross and red crescent emblems are the visible symbols of the protection conferred by the Geneva Conventions. In times of conflict, the emblems serve a specific purpose: to show that the staff, facilitites and transports of National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, the ICRC and other medical services must be protected. The emblems must be respected in all circumstances and never misused.
The ICRC reminds all parties that the universally accepted rules of international humanitarian law must be complied with at all times. The Nepal Red Cross and the ICRC once again urge all those involved in the ongoing violence in that country to refrain from any misuse of medical services – in particular the lifesaving service provided by emergency medical workers – and to show absolute respect for the work of those services.