GENEVA (November 21, 2023) – The president of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) traveled to Qatar on Monday to advance humanitarian issues related to the armed conflict in Israel and Gaza.
President Mirjana Spoljaric met with Ismaël Haniyeh, Chair of Hamas’ Political Bureau, and separately with authorities of the state of Qatar.
The ICRC continues to appeal for the urgent protection of all victims in the conflict, and for the alleviation of the catastrophic humanitarian situation in the Gaza strip. ICRC staff in Gaza have been delivering life-saving assistance, and an ICRC surgical team continues to perform operations. The ICRC is calling for sustained, safe humanitarian access so it can increase its work.
The ICRC has persistently called for the immediate release of hostages. The ICRC is insisting that our teams be allowed to visit the hostages to check on their welfare and deliver medications, and for the hostages to be able to communicate with their families. Agreements must be reached that allow the ICRC to safely carry out this work. The ICRC cannot force its way in to where hostages are held, nor do we know their location.
The ICRC does not take part in negotiations leading to the release of hostages. As a neutral humanitarian intermediary, we remain ready to facilitate any future release that the parties to the conflict agree to, as ICRC staff have already done on two occasions.
The visit by President Spoljaric is a part of the ICRC’s direct discussions with all sides to improve respect for international humanitarian law. President Spoljaric has also met multiple times in recent weeks with families of hostages held in Gaza, as well as senior Israeli and Palestinian leaders. (ICRC, contributed news for BMN/BangsamoroToday)