Senior UN relief official voices sorrow at death of Red Cross worker in Iraq

Senior UN relief official voices sorrow at death of Red Cross worker in Iraq

Kenzo Oshima
Underscoring the dangers faced by aid workers inside Iraq, the United Nations Emergency Relief Coordinator, Kenzo Oshima, expressed his sorrow today at the death of a delegate for the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) killed in Baghdad yesterday while carrying out his duties.

“(Vatche) Arslanian’s death underscores the dangerous circumstances in which aid workers bring assistance to people in need, and the bravery they exhibit in so doing,” Mr. Oshima said. He called on all parties to the conflict “to strictly abide by their obligations under international law to ensure the safety and security of humanitarian personnel.”

Mr. Oshima also noted with concern that two humanitarian workers from the non-governmental organization (NGO) Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) were missing in Iraq. MSF’s Head of Office for Iraq, Francois Calas, and Ibrahim Younis, a logistician, have not been heard from since they disappeared in Baghdad on the evening of 2 April. Mr. Oshima called on the parties to the conflict to allow humanitarian workers the freedom of movement necessary for discharging their mandate.