Summary: 4 July 2007, Brussels - On 29 June 2007, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) publicly denounced the government of Burma/Myanmar for violations of international humanitarian law affecting civilians and detainees and for imposing increasingly severe restrictions on ICRC's work.
Benita Ferrero-Waldner, Commissioner for External Relations and European Neighbourhood policy, and Louis Michel, Commissioner in charge of Humanitarian Aid, have both voiced their concerns about ICRC's work in Burma/Myanmar being subject to increasing pressure and restrictions. They called on the Burma/Myanmar authorities to re-start the dialogue with ICRC as soon as possible.
Commissioner Michel said: "I am concerned about the seriousness of the violations denounced by the ICRC. The Commission is a long-time supporter of ICRC. Its activities to help civilians in conflict and detainees are recognised worldwide and the provisions of the international humanitarian law should also be fully applied in Burma/Myanmar."
Commissioner Ferrero-Waldner added: "It is indeed essential that the organisation can resume its activities in Burma/Myanmar according to its international mandate. The Commission stands ready to facilitate the dialogue between the government and the ICRC."
The European Commission, under its humanitarian aid (ECHO) programmes and under other aid programmes, continues to provide substantial assistance to civilian population of Burma/Myanmar through International NGOs, United Nations agencies and the Red Cross family. Since 2003, ECHO has supported the ICRC with €3.5 million.
For more information: