The Red Cross has been neutral in wars for over 150 years. Even today, it defends its position against critics because Russia is destroying Ukraine.
As the Red Cross tries to help victims on both sides of the conflict between Russia and Ukraine, its tradition of neutrality is proving controversial in some corners.
ICRC acts as a watchdog for international law, as it was founded in 1863. Its humanitarian arm. The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), provides assistance to war and disaster victims in collaboration with a number of national Red Cross societies.
The ICRC, which has won the Nobel Peace Prize three times, has maintained its principle of neutrality since its inception.
ICRC Director-General Robert Mardini said last month that “impartiality is at the heart of our license to operate.”
“The Red Cross needs to develop relations with all countries,” said Lucille Marbieu, spokesman for the ICRC in Ukraine, in an interview.
The Red Cross’s neutrality means that it does not take sides in the war
Mary Bradley. An associate professor at the Institute Barcelona de Estudios Internationals. Said the Red Cross seeks to maintain dialogue with all parties to the armed conflict in order to compel them to comply with international humanitarian law.
If the ICRC takes sides or declares that one party attacked the other or that there was some other valid reason for the attacks. Its ability to communicate with the other party will be severely damaged. He didn’t like it. Said Bradley.
Mario said the ICRC’s dialogue with both sides is kept secret, which can be frustrating for opposing parties to a dispute.
In some international disputes. The ICRC’s impartiality has been key to its success. Bradley said the ICRC maintained dialogue with the Taliban in Afghanistan and with al-Shabab during the 2011 famine in Somalia. Giving it greater access to areas under the group’s control and providing civilian life-saving assistance. Allowed to provide.
But for some. Allegations of war crimes by Russian troops have called into question the morality of neutrality in the current conflict.
Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky criticized the ICRC on March 8. Saying the organization was preventing Ukrainians from using the Red Cross on humanitarian mission vehicles.
“It’s very revealing. Said the Ukrainian leader. “Some influential people do not care much about Ukraine.”
However, the ICRC stated that the use of the Red Cross was protected under international humanitarian law and was reserved for Red Cross missions.
Some critics say the Red Cross is justifying Russia’s aggression
Some Ukrainians have objected to plans to open an ICRC office in the Russian border town of Rostov-on-Don.
The Ukrainian government said on March 21. 2021. That opening an office in Rostov would justify Russia’s aggression and “support the kidnapping of Ukrainian citizens.”
Pictures of ICRC President Peter Moore shaking hands with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in Moscow on March 24 and thanking him for “positive cooperation” have angered some Twitter users.
A Ukrainian likened Moorer’s friendly handshake with Lavrov to the Holocaust victims of World War II and the non-response of the Red Cross to other oppressed groups.
In 1996. The Red Cross released documents confirming that it was aware of the persecution of Jews in Nazi concentration camps but was reluctant to speak out. The ICRC has stated its inability to take decisive action or to declare its “greatest failure” at this time.
On March 25. The day after Moorer met with Lavrov, the ICRC posted a post on Instagram stating. “We are talking to all parties to the conflict. To protect and assist the victims. Under the Geneva Conventions. This is our mandate. Last week. Our president was in Ukraine. Yesterday. He was in Russia.
Russia itself appeared to be ignoring the Red Cross’s neutrality. Shelling at least one of its hospitals and preventing its humanitarian teams from reaching the wounded and besieged civilians. The Red Cross has repeatedly failed to deliver humanitarian teams and supplies to Mariupol.
Using the Red Cross’s help is no longer necessary to report war crimes.”
The Ukrainian-Canadian Congress wrote in a letter to Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on March 27. Live without food and water. “
MSF executive director Joe Belleau said modern aid agencies. Such as Medicines Sans Frontieres (MSF). Believe that aid organizations have a duty to “testify” against perpetrators.
The Nobel Committee awarded the Nobel Peace Prize to MSF in 1999. Noting that the organization “draws the public’s attention to the human catastrophe. And points to the causes of such catastrophe. The violations and abuse of power by the organization.” Helps shape public opinion institutions. “
But Bellevue said his organization’s biggest challenge is deciding when and how to talk. I am grateful to MSF for helping me through difficult times. He said. And increasing the political climate could undermine MSF’s ability to help.
Bradley said the ICRC while acknowledging its inaction during World War II. Now makes it clear that neutrality does not mean that it should remain silent when it comes to international human rights violations.” Do not be unaware. And publicly condemn those who violate human rights.
It does not follow that the world is unaware of Russian war crimes just because the International Criminal Court does not accuse Russia of such crimes publicly. In the CNN era. We do not need the ICRC. He wants us to know who is violating international humanitarian law. “