As he was heading towards Hudaya's airport, port city in West Yemen, a humanitarian worker, whose name remains unknown, was abducted two days ago. The two Yemeni drivers of this International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) employee were released a few hours after the rapt.
Yemen is nowadays considered as a "risky" country, according to the French Ministry for European and Foreign affairs. For the past 15 years, more than 200 abductions of foreigners were reported on this territory. Today, Dibeh Fakhr, spokesman of the ICRC, declared that from the present time "no contact was established between the abductors nor our employee".
This sad event reminds us the three humanitarian workers from the French NGO Triangle Génération humanitaire, freed last November, as they had been detained for more than 6 months. On the occasion of our Afterwork, organized on the 8th of March 2012, Patrick Verbruggen, co-director of the NGO, told the audience about the means that could be used in such a situation.
As Pierre Micheletti, former director of Doctors of the World, recalled it in Le Quotidien du Médecin at the same period: “Whereas the humanitarian space is shrinking, [NGOs] have to clarify their position to prevent any hotchpotch between their commitment and the foreign policies run by their country". The question of humanitarian actors' safety has become essential.
Let's remember that for the very year 2008, 260 humanitarian actors were abducted, severely injured or killed. The year 2011 confirmed this state of things: more than 200 were victims of violence of all kinds. It is not rare that NGOs withdraw their workers from a country that has become too dangerous. It happened to Doctors of the World in the late 1990s in Sudan, for a few months, and to Doctors without Borders in 2004 in Afghanistan.
This last abduction brings to 6 the number of French people currently detained all over the world. The Red Helmets Foundation holds to express its support to the family and colleagues of the ICRC agent, and do not forget about the other hostages : Denis Allex, officer in the General direction for external security, captive in Somalia since July 2009 ; Pierre Legrand, Daniel Larribe, Thierry Dol and Marc Furrer detained since September 2010 in the Sahel desert.
You can find all the stories told during the humanitarian Afterwork of the Red Helmets Foundation on the video below :