The recent breach of the Kakhovka hydroelectric dam in Ukraine has caused a humanitarian and ecological disaster, and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy is criticizing the International Red Cross (ICRC) for its slow response. Despite the Ukrainian Red Cross being active on the ground, Zelenskiy and others in his circle believe that the ICRC has used the cover of neutrality, international law, and confidentiality to mask a moral weakness.
One point of contention is the ICRC’s approach to accessing political prisoners. The ICRC has been criticized for its inability to access Olenivka, a notorious camp in eastern Ukraine where dozens of Ukrainian prisoners of war died in an explosion and fire in July 2022. Ukrainian officials are also frustrated with the ICRC’s perceived inaction with regards to Russian human rights abuses and its failure to call out or investigate these abuses.
The ICRC has rejected the criticism, stating that its primary focus is on access to water, and that its experts work with the National Red Cross Society and local authorities. The organization has emphasized that accumulated trust, neutrality, and confidentiality are critical components of success for the organization. Additionally, the ICRC is facing budget cuts, which may impact its ability to respond to crises in the future.
In summary, the breach of the Kakhovka hydroelectric dam in Ukraine has led to a humanitarian and ecological disaster, and Ukrainian officials are criticizing the International Red Cross for its slow response and perceived inaction with regards to accessing political prisoners and calling out human rights abuses. While the ICRC has emphasized its commitment to neutrality and impartiality, it is facing budget cuts and ongoing challenges as it navigates complex political situations and limited resources.
Read full article on TheGuardian: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2023/jun/09/zelenskiy-steps-up-criticism-of-international-red-cross-over-inaction-at-kharkhova-dam