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Chad: ICRC urges respect for international humanitarian law

12-05-2009 News Release 09/96

N'Djamena/Geneva (ICRC) – International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) staff have been mobilized to bring aid to civilian and military victims of the violent clashes that over the past few days have pitted government troops against fighters of the Union of Resistance Forces (UFR) in eastern Chad.

Beginning on 9 May, ICRC delegates began to visit people captured in the fighting to assess their treatment and conditions of detention. Some 100 detainees have already been registered. ICRC medical staff have begun to deliver aid to the facilities caring for the wounded in Am Dam, Goz Beida, Abéché and N'Djamena. Three civilian casualties in serious condition were taken to Abéché where they will be operated on by ICRC surgeons. The needs of casualties transferred to N'Djamena are being assessed.

" Many people were captured as a result of the clashes. Those who were wounded, including some people captured in the fighting, require emergency aid, " said Catherine Deman, who heads the ICRC delegation in Chad. " The ICRC would like to point out that, under international humanitarian law, all persons injured – whether civilian or military – must be treated humanely and without discrimination. "

As soon as circumstances permit, everything possible must be done to search for, collect and evacuate the wounded, and to provide them with suitable medical care. The mortal remains of people killed in the clashes must be collected and buried with respect, and information concerning them must be recorded. The authorities in charge must ensure that those captured are treated humanely, that their dignity is respected and that their basic needs are met. In accordance with its mandate, the ICRC must be guaranteed access to all people captured in connection with the armed conflict.

The ICRC calls upon the authorities to take all feasible measures to protect against the effects of the hostilities the civilian population living in the areas affected by the bombardments and other fighting, and to see to it that they are not exposed to the danger of explosive remnants of war.

In accordance with its mandate, the ICRC will press ahead with its efforts to protect and assist all those affected by the recent fighting, whether they be wounded, detained or displaced. The ICRC has been working in Chad since 1978. Today it carries out its activities in behalf of conflict victims, in particular war-injured people, security detainees throughout the country and displaced people in the eastern part of the country. It has 315 employees working in Chad, including 57 expatriates.

For further information, please contact:
  Marco Succi, ICRC N'Djamena, tel: +235 6201005
  Anna Schaaf, ICRC Geneva, tel: +41 22 730 22 71 or +41 79 217 32 17