Quinze ans

On célébrait il y a quelques jours, à Genève et en Tchétchénie, le quinzième anniversaire du massacre L’hopital CICR de Novye Atagi

Ci dessous, un texte en Anglais pour se souvenir…

Quinze ans dans English rad4C09A

Remembrance Day: time passes, memory stays

Today, colleagues are lighting candles and laying flowers at the Remembrance Garden of the ICRC’s headquarters in Geneva to commemorate the killing of six of our own in the Chechen village of Novye Atagi fifteen years ago. It has become the Day of Remembrance for all ICRC staff who have died on mission or on duty.

« What happened in Novye Atagi was one of the most tragic events in the history of the ICRC, » says Pascale Meige Wagner, head of operations for Eastern Europe and Central Asia. « The quiet contemplation observed each year on this day is part of a long and difficult healing process. »

In the early morning hours of 17 December 1996, Fernanda Calado (the hospital’s head nurse), Hans Elkerbout (a construction technician, from the Netherlands Red Cross), IngebjØrg Foss (a nurse from the Norwegian Red Cross), Nancy Malloy (a medical administrator from the Canadian Red Cross Society), Gunnhild Myklebust (a nurse from the Norwegian Red Cross), and Sheryl Thayer (a nurse from the New Zealand Red Cross) were murdered in their bedrooms by unidentified gunmen. Our colleague Christoph Hensch, the ICRC head of office, was wounded, but survived the attack.

For the ICRC, Novye Atagi became the symbol of a new era of humanitarian action, in which humanitarian workers themselves have become potential targets.

OCHA estimates that at least 100 humanitarians get killed every year. The ICRC has not been spared; we have lost 28 colleagues since 2,000, national and international staff combined. That is against the backdrop of a significant expansion of our ‘operational surface’ in the world’s most dangerous countries.

The institution takes all the measures it can to keep risks to a minimum whilst discharging its humanitarian mandate. Each death is a tragedy, however, for both the victims’ colleagues and their families.

« The fact that the ICRC commemorates its dead means a lot to me », says Sophie Maurice, daughter of Frédéric Maurice, who died in shelling as he led a humanitarian convoy through Sarajevo in 1992. « It means that the institution does not forget. The ICRC acknowledges the risks taken and the sacrifices made by its staff and their families for its humanitarian mission. »

rad3DEBE dans Massacre de Novye atagi

The ICRC hospital in Novye Atagi had opened just three months and a half before the attack. Its staff had already received over 300 patients, conducted about 600 surgical operations and provided more than 1,700 medical consultations.

« It was a terrible blow not only for the families of our assassinated colleagues but also for all the villagers and all the Chechens, » says Aina Shaikhidova, who used to work as an administrator at the hospital.

Despite the ICRC’s relentless efforts to shed light on the causes and circumstances of the incident, the investigation did not lead anywhere and was eventually suspended in 2011.

« We have never stopped and will never stop our efforts to obtain information on the tragedy, » says Pascale Meige Wagner. « This is our responsibility vis-à-vis all of our colleagues assassinated in Novye Atagi and especially their families. »

Commemorations are held each year, not only at headquarters but also in Chechnya and Moscow.

« The memories of your beloved ones are still vivid among us! », say our staff in Chechnya to the victims’ families in a joint letter. « Their commitment and energy, patience and good nature, conscientiousness, care and kindness were really an example and will always remain in our hearts. »

Although today commemorates the deaths of those six brave men and women who accepted to go to Chechnya in 1996 despite the dangers because they were needed, it also honours the memory of all our colleagues who dedicated, and lost, their lives to helping others.

Sébastien Brack and Vassili Fadeev

0 Réponses à “Quinze ans”

  • Aucun commentaire

Laisser un Commentaire

Vivre la République du Progrès |
l'avenir vue par un militan... |
LCR Section Calaisienne |
Unblog.fr | Annuaire | Signaler un abus | Rassemblement des français
| Les lumières en héritage
| L'Afrique de toutes nos forces