A global coalition of 50 organisations, including UKLFI, jointly urged the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) to assist in helping the Israeli hostages in Gaza.
Earlier the Red Cross had refused to assist the Israeli hostages, claiming that they were not active in Gaza. However, the Red Cross was operating in Gaza, assisting the Palestinians.
According to recent estimates from the Israeli government, over 150 civilians have been abducted by Hamas, including babies, toddlers, teenagers, grandmothers, and foreign nationals.
The 50 organisations sent a letter to the ICRC on 12 October 2023, requesting that it fulfil its stated mission. They must: locate the hostages, confirm whether they are alive or dead, stop their mistreatment, and arrange for their immediate release from captivity.
They also requested an urgent meeting with the Jerusalem staff of the ICRC, and plan to bring some of the families of the captive Israelis to that meeting, to personalize the urgency of the appeal.
Later on 12 October the Red Cross responded with a statement on its website saying:
“The taking of hostages is prohibited under international humanitarian law and anyone being held should be immediately released. We are now in contact with Hamas and Israeli officials as part of efforts on this issue. As a neutral intermediary we stand ready to conduct humanitarian visits, facilitate communication between hostages and family members and to facilitate any eventual release.”