Overseas Civilian Contractors

News and issues relating to Civilian Contractors working Overseas

Weapon contamination in Libya

InterCross ICRC   From the Field  May 30, 2012

The ICRC in Libya started to address the humanitarian consequences of explosive remnants of war immediately after the figting ended in April 2011.

In an effort to protect returning residents, our explosive ordnance disposal teams entered Sirte and Bani Walid at a time when unexploded ordnance caused on average one casualty a day.

They proceeded to train hundreds of Libyans in risk education, including members of the Libyan Red Crescent. These volunteers now work in local communities in the regions and cities most affected by the problem.

The total number of mines and explosive remnants of war in Libya is unknown but the weapons continue to kill and maim, primarily children and young men.

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June 4, 2012 Posted by | Africa, Bomb Disposal, Civilian Contractors, ERW, Explosive Ordnance Disposal, Explosive Remnants of War, Libya, NGO's, Safety and Security Issues, UXO | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Internal U.S. report: Syrian military violating ceasefire, attacking aid workers

Josh Rogin Foreign Policy

Syrian government forces continue to attack opposition forces, civilians, and aid volunteers, preventing the international community from getting emergency aid to the Syrian people, USAID has detailed in a series of internal reports obtained by The Cable.

In its latest “humanitarian update,” written at the end of April, USAID reported in detail the extensive attacks perpetrated by Syrian Arab Republic Government (SARG) troops, despite an ongoing U.N. monitoring mission and in direct violation of the “cease-fire” there. The USAID report, marked “sensitive but unclassified,” sourced its findings to U.N. representatives in Syria as well as representatives of the International Committee for the Red Cross (ICRC), the Syrian Arab Red Crescent (SARC), and other aid groups on the ground.

“U.N.-Arab League Special Envoy to Syria Kofi Annan expressed concerns regarding reports of SARG reprisal attacks in areas where Syrian civilians met with U.N. observers, including in Hamah and Damascus governorates,” the report stated. “The observers report that SARG forces have not withdrawn heavy weapons from urban centers — a condition of the U.N. and Arab League supported ceasefire and peace plan that went into effect on April 12.”

Although the U.N. Security Council has authorized the deployment of 300 monitors, the report could only confirm that “at least 11” U.N. monitors had arrived in Syria as of April 24. (Additional monitors have reportedly arrived since then.)

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May 15, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Pakistan: kidnapped ICRC delegate Khalil Rasjed Dale murdered

Captive British aid worker killed in Pakistan

 

Pakistani security officials stand next to covered body of British Red Cross worker Khalil Rasjed Dale at the site in Quetta, Pakistan on Sunday, April 29, 2012. The body of a British Red Cross worker held captive in Pakistan since January was found in an orchard Sunday, his throat slit and a note attached to his body saying he was killed because no ransom was paid, police said. Photo: Arshad Butt / AP

QUETTA, Pakistan (AP) — The body of a British Red Cross worker held captive in Pakistan since January was found in an orchard Sunday, his throat slit and a note attached to his body saying he was killed because no ransom was paid, police said.

Khalil Rasjed Dale, 60, was managing a health program in the city of Quetta in southwestern Pakistan when armed men seized him from a street close to his office. The identities of his captors are unknown, but the region is home to separatist and Islamist militants who have kidnapped for ransom before.

The director-general of the International Committee of the Red Cross condemned the “barbaric act.”

“All of us at the ICRC and at the British Red Cross share the grief and outrage of Khalil’s family and friends,” said Yves Daccord.

Dale’s throat had been slit, according to Safdar Hussain, a doctor who examined the body.

Quetta police chief Ahsan Mahboob said the note attached to it read: “This is the body of Khalil who we have slaughtered for not paying a ransom amount.”

Militants and criminal gangs often kidnap wealthy Pakistanis and less commonly, foreigners.

British Foreign Secretary William Hague condemned Dale’s killing, and said “tireless efforts” had been under way to secure his release after he was kidnapped

Islamabad/Geneva – The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) condemns in the strongest possible terms the murder of its staff member Khalil Rasjed Dale.

The ICRC has now received confirmation that Khalil, a 60-year-old health-programme manager in Quetta/Balochistan, was murdered almost four months after his kidnapping.

“The ICRC condemns in the strongest possible terms this barbaric act,” said Director-General Yves Daccord. “All of us at the ICRC and at the British Red Cross share the grief and outrage of Khalil’s family and friends.”

“We are devastated,” said Yves Daccord. ‘’Khalil was a trusted and very experienced Red Cross staff member who significantly contributed to the humanitarian cause.”

Khalil worked for the ICRC and the British Red Cross for many years, carrying out assignments in Somalia, Afghanistan and Iraq. He had been working as a health-programme manager in Quetta/Balochistan for almost a year. At about 1 p.m. on 5 January 2012, he was abducted by unidentified armed men while returning home from work.

The ICRC has been active in Pakistan since 1947, providing humanitarian services in the fields of health-care, in particular physical rehabilitation, including in Balochistan.

April 29, 2012 Posted by | Civilian Contractors, Contractors Kidnapped, NGO's, Pakistan, Safety and Security Issues | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Somalia: ICRC Suspends Aid Deliveries

IRIN January 12, 2012

NAIROBI, 12 January 2012 (IRIN) – One of the few aid agencies excluded from a ban imposed by Al-Shabaab insurgents in Somalia has suspended food and seed distributions to 1.1m people in the south and centre of the country after local authorities repeatedly blocked its deliveries.

“The suspension will continue until we receive assurances from the authorities controlling those areas that distributions can take place unimpeded and reach all those in need, as previously agreed,” said Patrick Vial, the head of the ICRC delegation for Somalia, in a statement released on 12 January.

Without specifically mentioning Al Shabaab, which controls most of the region, the ICRC said deliveries intended for 240,000 people in the Middle Shabelle and Galgaduud had been blocked since mid-December 2011.

“We are actively seeking the cooperation of the local authorities to restore conditions that will allow the resumption of the suspended activities as soon as possible,” Vial said

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January 12, 2012 Posted by | Africa, Humanitarian Assistance, NGO's, Safety and Security Issues, United Nations | , , , , , | Leave a comment

British nurse kidnapped in volatile Pakistan city of Quetta

Khalil Dale, a British nurse, was kidnapped in one of the most volatile areas of Pakistan when he was seized by gunmen after visiting a local hospital.

The Telegraph   January 5, 2012

Mr Dale, a veteran aid worker who served as health programme manager for the International Committee of the Red Cross, was abducted in Quetta, the capital of Baluchistan province in south-western Pakistan.

This vast area, bordering both Afghanistan and Iran, endures a nationalist insurgency waged against Pakistan’s central government and also serves as a base for senior Taliban commanders.

The leadership council of the Afghan Taliban, known as the “Quetta Shura”, is thought to meet in the city.

Mr Dale, 60, has been based in Quetta since last February. Along with a driver and a local doctor, he was returning to his residence in a closely guarded area of the city when seven or eight armed men in a jeep blocked his vehicle.

“An armed man got out, pointed a gun at the driver and took his keys,” said Nazir Kurd, a senior police official in Quetta. “He then forced Dale at gunpoint into his car.”

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January 5, 2012 Posted by | Contractors Kidnapped, NGO's, Pakistan, Safety and Security Issues | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Red Cross brands assaults on medics in conflict zones a ‘humanitarian tragedy’

Violence against medical personnel in areas of unrest costing millions of lives, according to ICRC report

Global Development at The Guardian UK  August 10, 2011

International Committee of the Red Cross director Yves Daccord

Attacks on doctors and healthcare workers in conflicts from Somalia to Afghanistan have a drastic knock-on effect by jeopardising the health of millions, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) said in a report on Wednesday.

“Violence that prevents the delivery of healthcare is currently one of the most urgent, yet overlooked, humanitarian tragedies,” Yves Daccord, ICRC director-general, said in a statement. “Hospitals in Sri Lanka and Somalia have been shelled, ambulances in Libya shot at, paramedics in Colombia killed, and wounded people in Afghanistan forced to languish for hours in vehicles held up in checkpoint queues. The issue has been staring us in the face for years. It must end.”

According to Dr Robin Coupland, who led research carried out in 16 countries, millions could be spared if the delivery of healthcare were more widely respected.

“The most shocking finding is that people die in large numbers not because they are direct victims of a roadside bomb or a shooting,” he said. “They die because the ambulance does not get there in time, because healthcare personnel are prevented from doing their work, because hospitals are themselves targets of attacks or simply because the environment is too dangerous for effective healthcare to be delivered

August 10, 2011 Posted by | Humanitarian Assistance, Safety and Security Issues | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

LIBYA: Looming threat of scattered munitions in the east

IRIN Humanitarian News and Analysis

CAIRO, 16 May 2011 (IRIN) – There is so much ammunition and unexploded ordnance (UXO) scattered across eastern Libya that local people will face a serious threat when they return home. However, it is difficult to determine the exact quantities because of ongoing fighting, experts say.

“In Tabrouk and Benghazi there are munition bunkers that were destroyed by [government] forces prior to the establishment of the no-fly zone,” Tekimiti Gilbert, spokesman for the UN Mine Action Service (UNMAS), said. “Gaddafi’s forces bombed the bunkers to deprive rebels of weapons. As a result, a lot of ammunition is spread across a wide area on the surface of the ground.

“Because there was access to bunkers, local people are scavenging for scrap metal for re-sale and also explosives which can be used for fishing,” he told IRIN.

UNMAS is working with the International Committee of the Red Cross, the Libyan Red Cross and other partners to try to contain the problem. “In Ajdabiya, clearance of UXO in the city has started,” Gilbert said. “But we have a situation of people scavenging inside insecure munition bunkers and large areas to cover.

“One area can be made up of between 10-50 individual bunkers, which could cover an area of approximately 20 football fields.”

Photo UNMAS Unwelcome guest: A UXO on a kitchen floor in an apartment in Adjabiya

UXO, including rockets, shells and mortars, are strewn across public places and residential areas in Misrata, Ajdabiya and Benghazi, according to the ICRC. In Ajdabiya, a threat exists from unexploded devices around and even inside houses.

Local populations have also accessed munitions that were stored in army bases in Ajdabiya, Benghazi and Tobruk, before they were abandoned in early March. Some of the stores exploded, scattering the munitions over vast areas. UXO has also been found in destroyed armoured fighting vehicles, truck-mounted rocket launchers and other military vehicles.

In mid-April, UXO was found in three homes in Ajdabiya, including remnants of a BM-21 rocket embedded in the wall. More was found in other homes. Ten large bombs and 18 smaller missiles were destroyed around Benghazi.

The situation, according to UNMAS, is under-reported because most areas of contamination are in battle zones and cannot be reached.

“There is no immediate visual impact because inhabitants of towns inside battle zones have evacuated eastwards to Benghazi,” Gilbert said. “Ajdabiya, etc, are fairly empty. The issue is when displaced people return to their homes where they will be confronted with the risk of unexploded ordnance.

Fighter jet defused

“MAG [Mine Action Group] were tasked with a fighter jet that crash-landed 40km east of Benghazi, but still had live ammunition and weapons attached to the aircraft,” Gilbert said. “With assistance from the National Military Council, medics cordoned off the area to allow the demolition of the weapons on the aircraft. MAG also worked on a government fighter jet that went down near Benghazi.”

MAG is working alongside the Swiss Demining Group, DanChurchAid and the ICRC. “The effort will be extended to conflict-torn Misrata in the near future,” said Herby Elmazi, ICRC operational clearance delegate. In Ajdabiya, the ICRC is working inside the city to clear abandoned ammunition and UXO before most people return, while Handicap International has partnered with the Scout Movement to undertake education through outreach teams.

Since conflict broke out in Libya in mid-February, various reports have emerged of the use of anti-vehicle mines, anti-personnel mines, cluster munitions and other ordnance by both sides to the conflict. The government of Libya is not a signatory to the 1997 Mine Ban Treaty nor the Convention on Cluster munitions.

The National Transitional Council, which controls the east, has directed that “no forces under [its] command and control will use anti-personnel or anti-vehicle landmines”.

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May 16, 2011 Posted by | Explosive Ordnance Disposal, Libya, Safety and Security Issues | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment