Libya and Syria: Canadian Red Cross condemns more deaths in the line of duty

Topics: Worldwide, Emergencies and Disasters Worldwide
June 05, 2014

Ottawa, June 5, 2014 – On Wednesday, June 4, the Canadian Red Cross learned of the killing of International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) staff member Michael Greub in Sirte, Libya. The 42-year-old Swiss national, head of the organization's Misrata sub-delegation, was killed by armed men around midday yesterday in the city of Sirte, as he was leaving a meeting with two colleagues.

"The Canadian Red Cross joins the ICRC in vigorously condemning this heinous attack," said Conrad Sauvé, secretary general and CEO of the Canadian Red Cross. "We know that Michael was a devoted humanitarian who spent many years of his life helping others, and we extend our deepest condolences to his family, colleagues at the ICRC and friends."

Michael Greub worked for the ICRC for more than seven years, carrying out assignments in Iraq, Sudan, Yemen, and Gaza. He had been in his post in Misrata since March 2014. The two other staff members who were with him when the incident occurred were unharmed.

Earlier in the week, two  more Syrian Arab Red Crescent (SARC) deaths were confirmed by the Red Cross Red Crescent Movement; that of Syrian Arab Red Crescent volunteers Quteiba Abdallah and Wassim Mohammed Qassoha. Two further volunteers injured in April remain in critical condition.

The Canadian Red Cross joins the Movement in extending its heartfelt condolences to the families of Quteiba Abdallah and Wassim Mohammed Qassoha, and in calling upon all parties to the conflict in Syria to meet their obligations under international humanitarian law. In particular, they must grant Red Crescent and Red Cross personnel safe and unhindered access to persons affected by the conflict.

In total, 36 Syrian Arab Red Crescent and seven Palestine Red Crescent Society volunteers and staff have lost their lives since the beginning of the conflict in Syria while carrying out humanitarian activities. All were clearly identified as humanitarian workers by the red crescent emblem, which, like the red cross emblem, is a protected symbol under international humanitarian law.

“The safety of every humanitarian worker must be protected without fail,” said Sauvé. “These tragic deaths are becoming an all-too-common occurence, and we condemn this latest attack in the strongest possible terms.”