ICS - Italian Consortium of Solidarity calls for facilitating humanitarian work in Iraq

ICS - Italian Consortium of Solidarity is seriously concerned by the recent deterioration of the security conditions in Iraq with the increased violence affecting civilians and humanitarian personnel. This worsening situation in addition to the rigid and non-discriminatory militarily measures taken by MNF - Multi National Force and the Iraqi security forces have drastically jeopardized the assistance work of the humanitarian organizations at a time when it is mostly needed.
The recent shooting around Ramadi on 1st June 2005 by MNF troops without prior warning at ICS water trucking convoy, which was marked as humanitarian relief convoy, is an example of such unjustified actions that hamper the assistance operations and deprive needing civilians of accessing essential supplies. Episodes such as the unexplained raid of MNF to ICS offices in Baghdad on 30th May 2005 with the confiscation of essential equipment and documents for relief distributions harass and intimidate the humanitarian organization and their personnel, limit their relief capacities to respond to the essential needs of the local population, and restrict their access to the civilians groups and communities in need.

Recognizing its moral responsibilities in providing assistance and protecting the rights of Iraqi civilians, ICS urges all parties and States involved to respect their obligations according to the International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights Law, to hence facilitate the humanitarian impartial operations and to respect and protect the staff involved. As such, ICS calls upon:

- The Iraqi Government to ensure that basic human rights of the civilian population are respected during the security operations which are carried out by the security forces under its responsibility;

- The MNF and the Iraqi security forces to fulfill their obligations under the relevant norms of the International Humanitarian Law and to guarantee free access and delivery of assistance supply to the beneficiaries, to facilitate the work of the humanitarian organizations, to ensure the safety and security of their personnel;

- The United Nation Assistance Mission to Iraq, the humanitarian coordination bodies, and all humanitarian actors in Iraq to establish mechanisms and common understanding with MNF and Iraqi Security Forces to avoid such non-discriminatory military actions, and in case occurred, to promptly investigate them and implement necessary corrective measures;

- The Secretary General of the United Nations, in accordance with his prerogatives under the Charter of the United Nations, to bring to the attention of the Security Council situations in which humanitarian assistance is denied as a consequence of violence directed against humanitarian personnel and United Nations and its associated personnel;

- State members of the Security Council to address during the expected review of MNF mandate the diminishing humanitarian space available for humanitarian organizations in Iraq and the increasing threats against their personnel.

For information:
ICS - Italian Consortium of Solidarity
Catherine Dickehage
communication director
tel. +39 06 85355081