International Committee of the Red Cross
International Committee of the Red Cross

Regional Delegation for the United States and Canada

In This Issue:
Pakistan: Lives and Livelihoods at Stake
Iraq: Bringing Humanity to Places of Detention
Interview with Hernán Reyes, Medical Coordinator for Health and Detention
ICRC Young Reporter Competition: Call For Applications
ICRC News from
Around the Globe
New ICRC Film - Shadows of Hope: Missing Persons in Nepal    
Shadows of Hope: Missing Persons in Nepal
The decade of conflict in Nepal, from 1996 to 2006, caused the disappearance of over 1,300 people. Today, their families are still waiting for information on the fate of their loved ones.
This new 21-minute film documents the search for information that may help families relieve the anguish caused by uncertainty.

Missing Lives
by Nick Danziger and Rory MacLean with Mark Thomson  
Missing Lives
The wars that scarred the Balkans in the 1990s cost the lives of about 140,000 people, a quarter of whom simply vanished and were reported missing by their families. Since 1991, the ICRC has been asked by families to trace 34,389 missing persons.
In 2010, almost 15,000 people remain unaccounted for. A new book called Missing Lives highlights 15 moving individual stories selected among thousands.
Photographs are by award-winning British photographer Nick Danziger, the text by acclaimed Canadian writer Rory MacLean.
Click to read excerpts. To order a copy, please visit the publisher's website.
A photo exhibit of these photographs will come to the Canadian War Museum in Ottawa from January to April 2011. Stay tuned for details!
Our World At War: Now At Harvard
DRC - Ron Haviv, Our World At War
Our World At War  is currently on exhibit in Cambridge, Massachusetts, in partnership with the Harvard Humanitarian Initiative. Go see it at the Center for Government and International Studies South Concourse, located at 1730 Cambridge Street, Cambridge, MA. The exhibit is open to the public Monday through Friday, 7:00 AM to 8:00 PM, until October 14.
For more information about the exhibit and related events, visit the Harvard Humanitarian Initiative website.
Upcoming News & Events

Young Reporter's Competition

Check our website for the latest news, as ICRC commemorates the upcoming dates with special features, photos, and more:
September 20 - 25: 15th Course in International Humanitarian Law (IHL) for Humanitarian Professionals and Policy Makers in Naivasha, Kenya 
October 1: Deadline for ICRC Young Reporter Competition 
October 15 - 17: DePaul University College of Law
International Humanitarian Law Workshop in Chicago, Illinois
October 21 - 22: Bruges Colloquium on International Humanitarian Law 2010 
October 31 - November 6:
Fourth Senior Workshop on International Rules governing Military Operations (SWIRMO) in Lucerne, Switzerland.
The correct answer to last month's question,
What is the ICRC's motto?, is 
B. Inter Arma Caritas (Amidst War, Charity) 
Congratulations to everyone who got it right!
Stay tuned for future issues with the next ICRC Quiz!

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Photostream with new photos of the current response to the flooding in Pakistan.
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ICRC Mission
The ICRC is an impartial, neutral, and independent organization whose exclusively humanitarian mission is to protect the lives and dignity of victims of war and internal violence and to provide them with assistance. 
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News and Notes
September 2010 

This month the ICRC Regional Delegation for the United States and Canada updates you on the unfolding situation in Pakistan, where millions of people remain in need of assistance due to widespread flooding. 
We also take a look at ongoing operations in Iraq where the ICRC has visited approximately 70,000 detainees since 2003. In addition, the ICRC continues to assist hospitals and bring aid to vulnerable populations. 
Next, we share an interview with Hernán Reyes, ICRC's medical coordinator for health and detention, who was recently in the United States for a speaking engagement on medical ethics.
We then invite applicants between the ages of 18 and 25 to enter the ICRC Young Reporter Competition and to report to the world on issues affecting young people. Lastly, we give the answer to last month's quiz question below in the sidebar. Find out if you were right!
As always, please keep sending in your questions, comments, and suggestions for the newsletter. We love hearing from our readers! 
Kind regards,
The ICRC Washington Delegation
Pakistan: Lives and Livelihoods at Stake
Muzzafargarh, Punjab Province. Families displaced by the floods seek food and shelter in a school.It has been more than one month since widespread flooding struck Pakistan. People are coping as best they can, without any knowledge as to what the future will hold, or how they will mend their lives.
According to Jacques de Maio, the ICRC's head of operations for South Asia, "The magnitude of the humanitarian catastrophe is just staggering. In addition, one has to acknowledge that there is a significant gap between needs and the response that can be mounted, even by all humanitarian organizations taken together."

Click to enlarge map.
ICRC and PRCS Map of Flood Response Activities
For its part, the ICRC issued a budget extension of approximately $77 million to help bring aid to 1.4 million people in desperate need. After the torrential monsoon rains come to an end, it will be a major challenge to help millions of people regain their livelihoods and return to their homes. To date, the ICRC has provided food rations and essential items, such as ten
ts, blankets, tarpaulins, hygiene kits, and soap for over 350,000 flood-affected people. It has been cooperating closely with the Pakistan Red Crescent Society, whose 100,000 volunteers are out in the field actively assisting with the relief effort. The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies is also active on the ground, having sent several Emergency Response Units focused on relief, logistics, water and sanitation, and healthcare.

More than 500 tons of emergency shelter and household items have now been airlifted to the ICRC's Peshawar logistics base from regional stocks in East Africa and the Middle East. Because flooding of major routes south from Peshawar could affect the ICRC's ability to deliver aid to the south of the country, the organization has opened a second aid pipeline through the southern port city of Karachi enabling it to continue to support Pakistan Red Crescent relief operations in Sindh, Punjab, and Balochistan.
To read more about ICRC's work to help flood-affected communities in Pakistan, please visit our website.
Iraq: Bringing Humanity to Places of Detention 
ICRC assistance to persons in the Qandil area, displaced due to shelling on the border. The humanitarian situation remains serious in some parts of Iraq, as widespread violence and a lack of respect for human life continue to inflict harm and suffering on the Iraqi people. Indiscriminate attacks and other forms of violence leave hundreds of people wounded or killed every month. Despite the authorities' efforts to improve basic services, civilians continue to endure considerable hardship. For them, the chronic conflicts that have ravaged the country since 1980 have left a cruel legacy of destroyed livelihoods and restricted access to clean water and proper health care.

Visits to people detained in connection with armed conflict constitute one of the ICRC's most important activities in Iraq. Ensuring that they are treated humanely and held in acceptable conditions has been a constant concern for the ICRC ever since it started working in the country in 1980, when it carried out visits to thousands of prisoners of war.

The ICRC delivers an Red Cross message to the relative of a detainee, Basra, Iraq.Currently, almost 20,000 detainees held all over the country by the federal government or the Kurdistan Regional Government are visited regularly by ICRC expatriate staff. In July, the U.S. authorities completed the transfer to Iraqi officials of almost everyone in its custody. The ICRC intends to carry on monitoring conditions of detention through regular visits to those who remain detained by U.S. authorities.

"Working in places of detention is a challenge," said Robert Zimmerman, who coordinates the ICRC's work in Iraq in behalf of detainees and other people protected by international humanitarian law. "We are talking here of places which, by definition, are closed to the outside world, but they must not be forgotten, and they must be managed according to the rules."

To read more about the ICRC's current work in Iraq, click here.
Interview with Hernán Reyes, Medical Coordinator for Health and Detention 
Hernan Reyes, Medical Coordinator for Health & DetentionHernán Reyes has been an ICRC doctor for 27 years. During this time, he has visited hundreds of prisons across five different continents. To read an older interview with Hernán about his time working in Uruguay in the 1980s, click here 


What does health and detention mean? What does it entail?


Health and detention means everything that is good for health for people held in custody, and conversely, what is bad for health. This can entail everything from scabies and tuberculosis to torture and ill treatment. It includes issues related to solitary confinement and to ethical issues such as hunger strikes and the split duties of doctors who both work for prison administration officials and for their patients.


You mentioned medical ethics. This is an issue that has risen to some prominence in North American in recent years. Why is the ICRC concerned with medical ethics?


Doctors working in criminal justice system are often confronted with dilemmas of doing, or not doing, what the prison director tells them to do, which may go against medical ethics. For example, in some countries, doctors sit in on the commission that decides whether a prisoner is sent to a punishment cell. This should not be, as the doctors will lose the trust of their patient. Also, if the punishment cell is such that health problems may arise, then the system of punishment should be changed.


Hernan Reyes with former Uruguayan prisoner Mauricio RosencofNow imagine a situation where the ICRC works, visiting security detainees, political prisoners, prisoners who might have been tortured, for example. Doctors in these environments are under even more pressure. They may be forced to feed people against their will, who are on hunger strike, or forced to patch people up knowing they have been tortured. There is a medical dilemma of dual loyalties. Is the doctor loyal to his or her job, to the police, army, or prison service? Or is the doctor loyal to the Hippocratic oath and to the patient?


Is there a consensus on the issue of these dual loyalties?


For the ICRC, a doctor is a doctor is a doctor. In the past, some people have tried to make a distinction between clinicians and the other doctors who could be involved in practices not necessarily good for people's health. A very clear example would be a doctor who helps devise interrogation procedures by exploiting what other doctors learn during medical consultations. That is not ethical at all, and this is not just the ICRC saying so, but rather it is the position of the highest medical authorities, such as the World Medical Association. Plenty of medical associations, for physicians and psychiatrists, have said that doctors should never participate in interrogation procedures, either actively, passively, or in an advisory capacity.


What brings you to the United States?


I received an invitation from a former chief medical officer at Guantanamo Bay Naval Station, with whom I worked personally in 2003. At that time, he and I had an open and frank dialogue on the subject of health and detention, of course within the ICRC's confidential way of working. Now, many years later, he asked me to address the U.S. Naval War College in Rhode Island on the specific issues of dual loyalties, health and detention, and hunger strikes from an ethical point of view.

ICRC Young Reporter Competition: Call For Applications
ICRC Young Reporter CompetitionAre you between the ages of 18 and 25, or know someone who is? Are you, or the person you know, ready for a humanitarian experience? If so, then the ICRC invites candidates to discover what is happening in the field, and in particular, how young people are dealing on a daily basis with the reality of armed conflict or other situations of violence.
Participate in the ICRC Young Reporter Competition and get an inside look at the ICRC's humanitarian action, in collaboration with national Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies.
Young people with an ICRC vehicleThe five best entries will win a one-week mission to ICRC delegations in Georgia, Lebanon, Liberia, the Philippines, or Senegal
Participants will get to interview young people affected by armed conflict or other situations of violence and have a chance to report back to their peers, using their own words and creative talents. With the guidance and coaching of an ICRC communication specialist, selected candidates will produce a news report on their mission -- in print or film -- to be published and/or shown in a variety of media outlets. The finished products will be presented during a ceremony held in Geneva, Switzerland, around May 8, 2011.

Seize this opportunity to report to the world on issues affecting young people! Download the application and learn more here. And hurry! Entries should be sent no later than October 1, 2010. Good luck!