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ICRC says aid workers missing in Mali

The International Committee of the Red Cross said Monday that one of its teams was missing in strife-torn northern Mali, but it was not clear whether they had been kidnapped. "We can confirm that the ICRC lost contact with one of its vehicles, with five people on board," ICRC spokesman Alexis Heeb told AFP. The vehicle, which was carrying four ICRC staff members and a veterinarian from another aid organisation, went missing Saturday on the road between the towns of Kidal and Gao, Heeb said. All five individuals were from Mali, he said.

Jihadists in Syria behind kidnapping of ICRC workers

Jihadists in Syria were behind the kidnapping of seven aid workers in the northwest of the country, a monitoring group said Monday, shortly after four of them were freed. "The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) has freed... International Committee of the Red Cross workers they abducted yesterday on the road linking Saraqeb and Sirmin" in Idlib province, said the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

3 kidnapped ICRC staff, Red Crescent volunteer freed in Syria

Three of the six aid workers from the International Committee of the Red Cross kidnapped in Syria have been freed, along with a colleague from the Red Crescent, the ICRC said Monday. "Three ICRC colleagues and the Syrian Arab Red Crescent volunteer have been released and are safe and sound. We are waiting for further information about the other three colleagues," ICRC spokesman Ewan Watson told AFP.

Red Cross Syria kidnap underscores risks in war zones

The kidnapping in Syria of seven aid workers from the International Committee of the Red Cross and Syrian Red Crescent on Sunday underscores the stark daily risks faced by those helping victims of the conflict. "Six ICRC staff members and one member of the Syrian Arab Red Crescent have been abducted in Idlib in northwestern Syria," ICRC spokesman Ewan Watson told AFP at the organisation's Geneva base.

ICRC condemns Syria aid blockades

The International Committee of the Red Cross warned Wednesday that thousands of Syrian civilians besieged by government and rebel forces alike were in desperate need of aid. "Tens of thousands of civilians in Syria are living in extremely harsh conditions in sealed-off areas, and humanitarian aid is being prevented from reaching them. The consequences could be tragic," said the Geneva-based humanitarian organisation.

ICRC says opening its Guantanamo files would set dangerous precedent

By Jane Sutton GUANTANAMO BAY U.S. NAVAL BASE, Cuba (Reuters) - No court in the world has ever ordered the International Committee of the Red Cross to open its confidential files on prisoner visits and the U.S. Guantanamo war crimes tribunal would set a dangerous precedent if it becomes the first to do so, a lawyer for the humanitarian group said on Tuesday.

Detainees' defense lawyers want ICRC's secret Guantanamo files

By Jane Sutton GUANTANAMO BAY U.S. NAVAL BASE, Cuba (Reuters) - Lawyers for five prisoners accused of plotting the September 11 attacks in 2001 have asked to see confidential reports made by representatives of the International Committee of the Red Cross who visited the defendants at the Guantanamo detention camp.

Five South Sudan ex-POWs home from Sudan: ICRC

The Red Cross on Monday flew five former South Sudanese "ex-prisoners of war" home after their release by Sudan, as tensions rise between the two states over a failure to implement security agreements. "An ICRC delegate accompanied the five men to Juba, where they were handed over to South Sudanese authorities," the International Committee of the Red Cross said in a statement.

Neutral in a harsh world: the history of the ICRC

Founded to care for victims of war, the International Committee of the Red Cross has faced a tough task, sometimes been found wanting, but has always known how to adapt to shifting challenges. The Swiss-based ICRC marks its 150th anniversary on February 17, making it the world's oldest humanitarian organisation still in existence.

ICRC head in Myanmar to gain access to prisons, conflict zones

* First-ever visit to Myanmar by ICRC President * Peter Maurer to hold talks with President Thein Sein * Government has invited ICRC to visit prisons * ICRC to seek access to conflict areas near China, Thailand By Stephanie Nebehay
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