Interview: Yves Daccord

The director-general of the International Committee of the Red Cross tells Alan Philps of the challenges in dealing with Islamic State and predicts that aid workers may soon be given a TripAdvisor style rating

The World Today Published 1 October 2014 Updated 22 February 2021 5 minute READ

Alan Philps

Former Editor, The World Today, Communications and Publishing

In the Middle East today there are armed groups that have no respect for the humanitarian imperative. What challenges does this present to the Red Cross?
I see two key challenges. The first one is very basic. We want to maintain a very close relationship with people affected by conflict, and access these days is more complex because we are in a very polarized environment. Look at the Iraq front – the problem is not new but it is exacerbated. The second issue is to be able to engage governments and non-state armed groups on a very pragmatic basis on issues related to people under their control. That normally works rather well. What I have found more complex these days is to engage them on issues related to international humanitarian law and the Geneva conventions.

Do you have any contact with Islamic State?

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