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04-12-2023 | Latest News , Middle East

Gaza: ICRC president calls for the protection of civilians in the face of “moral failure”

Mirjana Spoljaric, the president of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), visited Gaza on Monday to advance efforts that alleviate the devastating humanitarian toll the ongoing conflict is taking on civilians.

 Speaking from Gaza, president Spoljaric said:

 00:00 – 00:23

“I've just visited the European Gaza hospital and the things I saw there are beyond anything that anyone should be in a position to describe. What shocked me the most were the children with atrocious injuries and at the same time having lost their parents with no one looking after them.

 00:24 – 00:41

We are facing a situation here that will not be healed by sending in more trucks. We need to provide protection to the civilians in Gaza. To the women and children, to the elderly people that I saw today that have nowhere to go.

 00:42 – 01:00

The majority of the people I met today have been displaced several times. I met people who have lost limbs because they needed to evacuate between treatments and they lost a hand or a foot because they couldn't be treated in the hospital where they arrived first.

 01:00 – 01:19

I was told today that the north has lost its entire surgical capacity. We have to find solutions to this. We can't turn away from what is evidently a moral failure facing the international community.

 01:19 – 01:43

I'm calling on parties and everyone who has an influence to deescalate and to find other than military solutions to what is an immense suffering of the people on both sides. We have to protect the rights of the people. We have to protect the rights of the civilians. We have to protect the rights of the detainees. We have to protect the rights of the hostages.

 01:43 – 01:57

The ICRC will do its utmost to help alleviate and reduce the suffering but we can’t do this alone. And there’s not only a humanitarian solution to this, there must be a political one 

01:58 – 02:27

We see so many people that risk their lives delivering assistance and we mourn so many colleagues in the national societies on both sides. We have lost colleagues ourselves, our UN colleagues have lost humanitarian workers. This is unacceptable. We have to respect humanitarian access and we have to respect the work and integrity and protection of humanitarian workers.

 02:28 – 03:04

I have the greatest and most profound admiration for our team on the ground, for our partners especially national Red Crescent societies that work with us very closely here in Gaza to support to people, to bring humanitarian assistance as much as we can by risking their lives but also undergoing very stressful conditions. They are sacrificing a lot by being here and they deserve our utmost and continued support and also our gratitude.”

03:05 – 03:26

Various shots of the President’s visit to the hospital

 Notes to editors: 

The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) is a neutral, impartial, and independent organization with an exclusively humanitarian mandate that stems from the Geneva Conventions of 1949. It helps people around the world affected by armed conflict and other violence, doing everything it can to protect their lives and dignity and to relieve their suffering, often alongside its Red Cross and Red Crescent partners

For more information:

ICRC press office:

Duration : 3m 27s
Size : 301.2 MB
On Screen Credit: ICRC or logo

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