Red Cross Violates Mission of Impartial Humanitarian Assistance
In the over 70 days since Hamas took more than 240 hostages from Israel on October 7, the International Committee of the Red Cross has yet to visit the hostages. Also troubling, the Red Cross has issued only limited criticism of Hamas’s hostage-taking—an explicit violation of Common Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions—while repeatedly criticizing, either explicitly or implicitly, Israel’s conduct in the war. The Red Cross’s criticisms of Israel not only violate the organization’s own policy of remaining “impartial, neutral and independent,” but also run counter to the organization’s raison d’être—described in the Geneva Convention—of providing neutral care in warzones.
To hold the Red Cross accountable and ensure its impartiality, the United States—which gives large sums to the Red Cross annually in the form of grants, typically in the tens of millions of dollars and in some years exceeding $100 million—should conduct greater oversight of the Red Cross and inform it that its inability to carry out its obligations impartially during the conflict could jeopardize potential future grants.