On behalf of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), I express our appreciation for your humanitarian concern regarding Gilad Shalit and stress that we share your concerns, and the concern of countless others in Israel and around the world, for his safety and well-being.
The ICRC has tried by every means available to obtain information on Mr Shalit's condition and to gain direct access to him. In its humanitarian capacity, the ICRC took an active role immediately upon notification of the capturing of Gilad Shalit on 25 June 2006, and since then, has never for a moment allowed his case to drop from its agenda. The issue of ICRC access to Gilad Shalit to ensure respect for his life and dignity and to transmit news from his family is repeatedly brought up at high-level meetings between the ICRC and the Hamas, both in Gaza and in Damascus.
In addition, we have been constantly reminding his captors of their obligations under international humanitarian law.
The ICRC has made public its concerns regarding Mr Shalit's situation.
18.06.09 the ICRC issued a News Release in this regard, which can be found on the ICRC's website, at http://www.icrc.org/web/eng/siteeng0.nsf/html/palestine-news-180609!OpenDocument.
Earlier statements by the ICRC's president and other senior officials can be found on our website (in December 2008, http://www.icrc.org/Web/Eng/siteeng0.nsf/html/israel-interview-111208;
in May 2008,
in June 2007,
We have also been in contact with Mr Shalit's family. Both they and the authorities have been kept informed of our actions. Last summer, Mr Shalit's parents Noam and Aviva agreed to be interviewed for the ICRC website (http://www.icrc.org/Web/Eng/siteeng0.nsf/html/israel-interview-300808).
The ICRC will do everything in its power to gain access to Mr Shalit.
However, as in all such cases, the responsibility for Mr Shalit's treatment and living conditions lies entirely with the people holding him. The implementation and enforcement of international humanitarian law is primarily the responsibility of parties to armed conflicts, be they States or other entities.
From its headquarters in Geneva and through its different delegations in the region and worldwide, the ICRC continues to follow up on any leads that may present themselves with the hope of bringing to the family, friends and supporters of Gilad Shalit the good news that they so desperately seek.
ICRC Deputy Head of Delegation
Israel, Occupied and Autonomous Territories
The ICRC - working to protect and assist people affected by armed conflict Find out more: www.icrc.org (Embedded image moved to file:
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