This morning I listened to a conference call held at National Headquarters regarding the dramatic hostage rescue in Colombia and the inappropriate use of the Red Cross emblem.
One of the concerns of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) is that it was not party to the rescue and the use of the emblem gave the incorrect impression that it was. The concern of the inappropriate use of the emblem can lead to the inability to access both sides in an armed conflict.
The second concern is for the safety of Red Cross aid workers during armed conflict. Ihe ICRC and the Colombian government are talking privately. The ICRC wants to make sure they will have continued access the government of Colombia.
So what happens if the ICRC loses access to a country during armed conflict?
As a caseworker, I see how the American Red Cross and the ICRC work together on delivering Red Cross messages to people in the area of conflict. If the ICRC loses its access to countries during a conflict, the people will lose contact with their relatives in the United States and any ongoing news from home.
Another concern is that detainees on both sides of the conflict will not have an trustworthy intermediator when needed to help resolve poor living conditions, inappropriate discipline, etc.