Benghazi, May 2012. As he steps onto the tarmac at the airport of his hometown for the first time in 43 years, Abdussalem Al-Naji is overwhelmed by emotion. He is greeted by his brothers, cousins and friends, as well as numerous children born to his relatives in his absence. That morning, Abdussalem was still in his flat in Dattwil, a small, quiet town in the Swiss canton of Aargau.
President of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), Peter Maurer, has just returned from a three-day visit to Syria during which he held talks with the Syrian president, Bashar al-Assad, and the ministers of foreign affairs, the interior, health and national reconciliation. Mr Maurer also visited areas affected by the fighting in Rural Damascus to witness at first hand how civilians are coping in a context of extreme violence.
As Libya attempts to recover from the conflict last year, wounds remain raw. On the international day of the disappeared (August 30th), thousands of Libyan families still have no answers over the fate of missing family members who went missing as a consequence of the conflict and the former regime.
The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) is appealing to its donors for 24.5 million Swiss francs (nearly US $27 million / 20 million Euros) to help the tens of thousands of people affected by the fighting in Syria. This will in effect almost triple the ICRC's budget for the crisis.
The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) has been selected as an official honoree by the 16th Annual Webby Awards for its short documentary depicting the dangerous conditions faced by doctors, nurses and ambulance workers operating on the front lines of Libya's recent armed conflict.