1.Information on the treatment of Red Cross workers; [LBN3813]


According to Mr. B. Hamadi, a leading member of the Lebanese community contacted through the auspices of the National Council on Canada-Arab relations, Red Cross volunteers have been fairly unbiased in their efforts to provide medical assistance, and have helped all sides, regardless of sectarian affiliations. [ Discussion with Mr. B. Montreal, 14 September 1989.] He alleges that, unfortunately, the lack of bias by Red Cross personnel has not necessarily been looked upon favourably in the climate of distrust which prevails in Lebanon. Members of different groups hold the attitude that, "if you're not with me, you must be against me". This has resulted in violence against Lebanese Red Cross volunteers who have been shot at and killed during the ongoing inter-communal war. One article discusses the alleged targeting of medical facilities, [ "Blockade curbs medical effort; Lebanon crisis", Times, 25 August 1989.] and another gives the casualty figures for Red Cross personnel over a six month period in 1989 12 dead and 80 wounded. [ "The Bunkers of Beirut, Life under the rubble", The Economist, 19 August 1989.]

In more recent developments, non-Lebanese Red Cross workers have been kidnapped. During October 1989, at least three Swiss Red Cross workers were abducted. Libération carried an article mentioning the release of an unnamed female Swiss Red Cross worker on 13 October. [ "Liban: Libération", Libération, 14-15 Octubre 1989.] On 6 October two other Swiss Red Cross workers were abducted in Sidon. [ "ICRC Workers Threatened if Hariri not Released", AFP, [Paris], (FBIS-NES-89-200), 18 October 1989.] Officials of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) met to discuss the possibility of suspending operations in Lebanon as they had in the previous year following another abduction. [ "Aid Workers Abducted in Lebanon", The Globe and Mail, 7 October 1989.] However, the ICRC later affirmed that "it will continue to render its services in Lebanon because the Lebanese people need such services." [ "ICRC Urges Release of Swiss Officials", Beirut Domestic Service [Arabic], (FBIS-NES-89-210), 1 November 1989.] Please see the attached news reports. Specific information on the treatment of Red Cross workers by the Syrian Army is not among the sources currently available to the IRBDC. The comments by Mr. Hamadi regarding perceptions of loyalties would apply to all parties to the conflict in Lebanon.