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Civilians continue to pay the highest price for the conflict in Iraq

26-07-2006 News Release

The spiral of violence continues to escalate in Iraq, claiming dozens of casualties daily. In the course of the last two weeks, several cities in Iraq have witnessed appalling incidents - either indiscriminate bombings or individual killings - in which scores of people were targeted.

Sectarian violence is a source of suffering and has caused, for several months, an unabated increase in the number of Iraqis fleeing their homes or sometimes their country. Abducting citizens for criminal or political motives continues to be a widespread phenomenon and ends up, all too often, dramatically. 

" This horrendous trend of daily violence, which totally disregards basic rules of international humanitarian law, has almost become a feature of life in Iraq in which civilians are bearing the brunt of the conflict " , says Karl Mattli, head of ICRC delegation in Iraq. 

The mortuaries are overwhelmed by the number of bodies, often unidentified and sometimes maimed. Hospitals have difficulty in coping with the huge number of injured people. In an effort to help identify the bodies and reduce the anguish of families, the ICRC is rehabilitating mortuary infrastructures in Baghdad, Basrah and Mosul and providing continuous material support to the Medico-Legal Institute in the capital. In addition, it is regularly sending medical and surgical supplies to hospitals in areas affected by these tragic incidents.

This assistance, no matter how meaningful, is only piecemeal in the face of the immensity of the needs and the scale of ongoing violations of international law. 

The ICRC calls again upon all parties in the conflict to respect the rules of international humanitarian law and to spare civilians and civilian property. In addition, it urges all those who can make use of their moral and political influence on the ground to call for respect for human life and dignity. 

 For further information  

  Please contact Nada Doumani, ICRC-Iraq, tel: +962 777399614