Red Cross chief condemns killings of workers in Congo

ICRC president, Jakob Kellenberger, paid tribute to the work of those killed Keystone

The president of the International Committee of the Red Cross, Jakob Kellenberger, has condemned the killing of six ICRC workers in the Democratic Republic of Congo, at a memorial ceremony attended by the families of the victims.

This content was published on May 2, 2001 - 16:48

Kellenberger spoke of having a "feeling of intense revolt against those who want to destroy everything and who do not comply with minimum standards of human behaviour".

He was speaking at a service in Geneva on Wednesday to commemorate the four Congolese workers and two foreign delegates, who were killed last week by unknown assailants near Bunia in northeast Congo. A Swiss nurse, Rita Fox, was among the victims.

The ICRC was holding a day of mourning for the workers, who were shot and hacked to death in the worst attack on ICRC officials for five years. The last attack on Red Cross employees happened in 1996 when six humanitarian workers were murdered in Chechnya.

Kellenberger told the families of the victims, along with the 1000 other people who attended the ceremony, that "the most urgent problem facing the world today is not the improvement of mankind, but the defence of a minimum standard of humanity".

He went on to acknowledge that professional risks involved in aid work had increased significantly and that he felt "great contempt" for such crimes.

The ICRC said last week its workers had been deliberately targeted. Their vehicles had carried clear Red Cross markings.

The organisation suspended operations in the area for three days following the attack.

Kellenberger finished his address on a positive note saying that the ICRC would continue to carry out its work in the future as it had done in the past. "The determination of the ICRC to defend the lives and dignity of people remains unshaken, it will continue."

swissinfo

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