The Foreign Secretary William Hague met Peter Maurer, the President of the International Committee of the Red Cross this afternoon to discuss the essential humanitarian work in some of the most difficult environments in the world.
After the meeting the Foreign Secretary said:
“The UK Government is proud to support the International Committee of the Red Cross. The ICRC undertakes essential humanitarian work in some of the most difficult environments in the world. In places like Syria, Gaza, and Afghanistan, the ICRC delivers aid, visits detainees, and protects civilians by encouraging States and armed groups to respect International Humanitarian Law.
“We discussed the grave situation in Gaza and Southern Israel, the mounting toll of civilian casualties, and the importance of humanitarian agencies being given the safe access necessary to help those in need. We also discussed the Syria conflict, which has created a desperate situation for millions of innocent civilians, and the particular need for all parties to the conflict to abide by International Humanitarian Law on the protection of medical personnel and hospitals. We spoke of the need for international attention on the crisis in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and the importance of supporting the people and government of Somalia. And I welcomed Mr Maurer’s support for the UK’s new initiative on preventing rape and sexual violence in conflict, an important focus of our Presidency of the G8 in 2013.”
Peter Maurer said:
“I very much appreciate the opportunity to discuss with the UK the challenges humanitarian organisations face in conflicts like Gaza and Syria. We at the ICRC welcome the UK’s engagement with us on these complex problems. The Foreign Secretary and I had a productive meeting. Securing respect for International Humanitarian Law is central to what we do at the ICRC so I was grateful for the chance to discuss that in particular with the Foreign Secretary.”