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Colombia Crossed Geneva Convention By Rescuing Hostages?

Colombia violated the Geneva Convention when its military used the Red Cross' symbol to help free 15 hostages from FARC rebels last month, according to the International Red Cross. The first Geneva Convention prohibits using the Red Cross emblem in military operations because it could compromise the perceived neutrality of the group's humanitarian and medical missions.

The Colombia operatives posed as faux-humanitarian workers, and video shows that one soldier wore the Red Cross emblem. Colombia initially misrepresented its use of the emblem, but later apologized, calling the soldier's decision to wear the cross unauthorized.

While officials consider the details of their rescue, the most famous former hostage, Ingrid Betancourt, avoids discussing the details of her six-year captivity. To see what she has said however,


Betancourt says her years of physical and psychological torture and humiliation taught her about the human capacity to be cruel, but she hopes to one day forgive her captors. While the Colombian and French citizen tries to move on from her ordeal in Paris, Ingrid is urging FARC to free the remaining hostages while cautioning against using a vocabulary of hate against her former captors.

Do you think the rescue of Betancourt and the other hostages jeopardized the work and safety of the Red Cross? Was it a risk worth taking?


Join The Conversation
UnDave35 UnDave35 9 years
The use of the red cross banner to resuce this girl may have saved her life, but the next time the red cross goes into the any area on truly humanitarian missions, how many of them will be sent away or killed because of this? Only time will tell.
Michaelrcks Michaelrcks 9 years
I agree with chiquita_banana.
stiletta stiletta 9 years
I agree with Stephley. Once you start using aid groups as a cover to rescue people, no matter how justified, you put all non-partisan groups at risk of being killed.
janneth janneth 9 years
The Red Cross logo must remain pure in order to be effective. But try convincing the hostages and their families of that.
MartiniLush MartiniLush 9 years
Agreed Stephley.
chiquita_banana chiquita_banana 9 years
I am Colombian and I can say that the FARC guerrilla doesn't abide by any rules of the Geneva Convention so why should our soldiers do the same? The FARC is not a political movement, they are drug dealers masking themselves with communist propaganda. They have been at this war for over 40 years. Rescuing the hostages was truly a humanitarian mission. Ingrid was slowly dying in the jungle.
popgoestheworld popgoestheworld 9 years
I agree with stephley. I truly hope this doesn't get blown out of proportion though.
stephley stephley 9 years
All aid groups have to be careful of being used by any side in a conflict - even an email from a compromising person can cause a government to toss a group out. I know its a serious concern to groups working in Africa. Something like this puts the Red Cross under suspicion, hampering their ability to help people and putting their workers at risk. It helped this batch of hostages, but at what cost to the Red Cross' safety and ability to function?
True-Song True-Song 9 years
Good heavens indeed! Big deal. (Though I can see why the Red Cross would want to keep people from using their symbol so that it remains a trusted brand. We don't really want red cross volunteers being under suspicion and having to jump through hoops to get into areas with need.)
hypnoticmix hypnoticmix 9 years
So sue them for non authorized use of trade mark and call it a day. Good Heavens.
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