At 4 a.m. on December 17, 1996, a group of armed men murdered six ICRC colleagues at the ICRC field hospital in Novye Atagi, Chechnya, as they slept in their quarters. (You can read a personal account of the experience from the former head of office at the ICRC surgical hospital over at Humanitarian Law & Policy.) Twenty years later, we remember and honor all of those who have died in the line of duty.
Since 1996, 46 staff members have been killed in security incidents. Over the past 10 years there has not been an increase in the number of ICRC staff – international and local – killed or injured in events directly brought about by armed conflicts. However, 2016 was a particularly tragic year for the Red Cross Red Crescent Movement as a number of colleagues and volunteers died in Yemen, Syria, Mali and the Central African Republic.
Today in Geneva, a “March of Remembrance” took place, starting in front of the United Nations and ending at ICRC Headquarters. Families of ICRC staff killed in the line of duty, current and former ICRC staff, and other representatives of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement took part. A photo exhibition “Ray of Hope – A Story of Commitment” is also being displayed in Geneva as a tribute to the ICRC staff who have lost their lives, illustrating the depth of their commitment to aiding victims of war around the world.
Selected images from "Ray of Hope" are below. For more information on those who lost their lives on December 17, click here. To listen to a podcast on the protection of humanitarian aid workers under IHL, click here.