HomeNewsICRC calls for protection of civilians in Rafah 

ICRC calls for protection of civilians in Rafah 

The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) made a direct call for the protection of civilians during the conflict in Rafah, Gaza. 

The organization reiterated concerns after Israel’s instructions to evacuate parts of the area amid military operations. The ICRC stressed the risks for the over 1 million displaced Palestinians now in southern Gaza.

In its February warning, the ICRC stated that intensified military operations would threaten civilians, who struggle with access to essential services. 

Fabrizio Carboni, ICRC’s Regional Director for the Near and Middle East, said that “every effort must be made to safeguard civilian lives and maintain access to crucial resources, including food, water, and medical care.”

He highlighted the importance of recent measures to allow the flow of aid into Gaza.

“The medical mission is vital in providing life-saving services to those most in need and must be respected and safeguarded by all parties involved in the conflict,” said Carboni. 

Negotiations continue regarding a possible political agreement, which could include a ceasefire and the release of hostages and detainees. 

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While the ICRC advocates for the unconditional release of hostages, the organization acknowledges that an agreement may be necessary. 

“An agreement that reunites families and provides aid to all people affected by the conflict is crucial,” said Carboni. 

He added that the ICRC stands ready to serve as a neutral intermediary to ensure the humanitarian aspects of any agreement are honored.

“Any evacuations must prioritize safety, hygiene, health, and family unity,” Carboni urged. “Civilians who remain in conflict areas must be protected from the hostilities, regardless of whether they evacuate or stay.”

Many civilians in Rafah have been displaced multiple times before reaching the southern Gaza area, and continued stress and displacement have weakened their health. 

The challenges of moving vulnerable groups, such as the elderly and disabled, underscore the urgency of ensuring their protection. The ICRC called for the protection of all civilians under international humanitarian law.

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