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ICRC president visits Colombia

27-08-2007 News Release 07/95

Geneva/Bogotá (ICRC) – Jakob Kellenberger, president of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), has arrived in Bogotá for a three-day visit during which he will hold talks with the country's president, Alvaro Uribe Vélez, the minister of foreign affairs, Fernando Araújo Perdomo, and the minister of defence, Juan Manual Santos Calderón.

The talks are expected to focus on the ICRC's operations in Colombia and on humanitarian issues, such as the situation of internally displaced persons (IDPs) and the relevance of international humanitarian law, particularly in Colombia's non-international armed conflict.

Mr Kellenberger will also meet senior officials of the Colombian Red Cross to discuss current cooperation initiatives between the two organizations.

The ICRC president will meet IDPs on the outskirts of Bogotá who have received ICRC assistance, and participate in an event organized to draw attention to the situation of displaced persons in Colombia and to the ICRC's work to help them. During the past ten years, the ICRC has assisted over a million IDPs in Colombia.

The ICRC began working in Colombia in 1969, when it was granted authorization to visit people detained in connection with the armed conflict. In addition to detention and assistance activities, the ICRC has promoted the integration of international humanitarian law into Colombian legislation and into the training of the armed and security forces, facilitated the release of hostages and detainees, and run agricultural, water and sanitation projects for resident communities affected by the armed conflict.

For further information, please contact:
  Yves Heller, ICRC Bogotá, tel: +57 1 313 86 30 or +57 1 311 4 91 07 89
  Marçal Izard, ICRC Geneva, tel: +41 22 730 2458 or +41 79 217 32 24