Welcome and thank you for visiting. Intercross is about the plight of children, women and men affected by armed conflict and armed violence. Intercross is about humanitarian action. It is about the work the ICRC and international humanitarian law and the rich history of the institution I am proud to be part of. And it is about interacting with you, our readers, and building a place for news and commentary on armed conflict that is credible and, hopefully, relevant.
A few words about me: I am the spokesman of the ICRC in North America, based at our delegation in Washington D.C. We’re not too far from the White House and the Department of State and the Brookings Institution. Blocks away from the Washington Post, a few metro stops from the Pentagon and a few hours flight from Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. I am Swiss, Geneva born, a foreigner in America. I have been posted in DC for two years-and-a-half, my second mission here. During my eleven years in the organization, I have done missions in Iraq, Afghanistan, Israel and the Occupied Territories and Haiti.
The ICRC mandate, in a nutshell, is: to protect the lives and dignity of victims of war and internal violence and to provide them with assistance; to prevent suffering by promoting and strengthening humanitarian law and universal humanitarian principles; to coordinate the relief activities of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement
in situations of conflict. Same as it has been for 148 years
, since Dunant’s great idea on the battlefield. A simple mission in a complex world. Our work here in North America: to visit persons held at Guantanamo Bay
to assess their treatment and conditions of detention and help them maintain contact with their families and to provide confidential recommendations to US authorities, which we discuss in Washington, Guantanamo and Miami. Also to interact with the US and Canadian governments and the Organization of American States on a range of global humanitarian issues, including those related to the Geneva Conventions
of 1949 and cooperate with the American
Red Cross. Thirty of us work in Washington, both expatriates and national staff.
The ICRC in North America wants to influence legal and policy debates that we, as an organization, care about. We join the digital conversation to make our voice and the voices of those who care about humanitarian action better heard. I want to offer you a window into the human reality of armed conflict. I will do this by featuring my colleagues working in the field and by showcasing the work of outstanding photojournalists and reporters covering conflict. We're pretty good at what we do and we’ve been at it for over 140 years. When you visit Intercross, I hope you will see that we have interesting things to say about war, its realities and the laws that apply when people take up guns, or drones
I'd like to hear from you and I will try as best I can to answer your comments and questions and to point you to available ICRC resources. I will try to post at least three times a week and will regularly feature guest posts as other points of views will contribute to making this space interesting, dynamic and meaningful.
The ICRC works primarily through confidential
dialogue with State and non-state actors who have a stake in any given conflict. We favor working behind the scenes and do not engage in polemic. However, we communicate publicly on many contexts and issues that North American humanitarians, academics, policy makers and soldiers care about. I will do my best to bring this wealth of information about the state of the world as seen by a neutral, independent and impartial humanitarian organization in my Intercross posts. I will try to do so creatively. I hope to move you, inform you and make you think.
So welcome to Intercross and thank you for taking the time to read. Please check a few posts, tell us what you think and visit often. I'll try my best to be up to the task.