RTE Interview with Peter Maurer, President of the ICRC

Ahead of his visit to Ireland, Peter Maurer, President of the International Red Cross (ICRC) speaks to RTE 'This Week'.

Listen to the full interview here

It's outrageous to see a situation in Syria where everybody who looks at where he should take refuge would walk today far away from a hospital when this, according to the Geneva Conventions, should be the most protected parts in a conflict.

Asked if hospitals were being attacked deliberately, Mr Maurer said, "What we see is that there is insufficient precautions. There may sometimes be deliberate attacks, there may sometimes be attacks which originate in the fact that the fighters from other groups have taken seize of the hospital, arms have been brought in to the hospital. I think there is really a conundrum around hospitals, militarising hospitals, targeting hospitals. on which

We have to sensitize states and none state to stop this adverse behaviour around hospitals. It's outrageous to see a situation in Syria where everybody who looks at where he should take refuge would walk today far away from a hospital when this, according to the Geneva Conventions, should be the most protected parts in a conflict.

 

We can't do useful humanitarian work if we can't cross front lines and if, on both sides of the front lines, we don't have sufficient security guarantees

Mr Maurer spoke about the challenges of working in Syria, "The most difficult barrier is negotiating a consensual agreement between the different parties on the ground and to have a license to operate in a specific situation. The challenges negotiating among 30 plus armed groups in and around Aleppo, including armed corps of the Syrian Government and other international forces active in the combat, so that we align all those actors  to agree that at a specific moment and at a specific time,there
are sufficient guarantees and licenses for an organisation [like the ICRC] to enter a certain context. And it is a conundrum to negotiating this context which is so difficult and thus to reach hard-to-reach, besieged, areas under combat. It's not the security as such, which is the first and foremost concern, but the negotiating consensus that the fundamental humanitarian activities are allowed by all the parties to the conflict, We can't do useful humanitarian work if we can't cross front lines and if, on both sides of the front lines, we don't have sufficient security guarantees."

Listen to the full interview on the here

rte peter maurer irish red cross

RTE Interview with Peter Maurer, President of the ICRC

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