The ICRC works in crisis zones around the world. In April, it helped broker a prisoner exchange between Yemen's warring parties. Keystone / Hisham Al-helali
The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) is in financial difficulties and has asked the Swiss federal government for help, reports the SonntagsZeitung newspaper. This content was published on June 4, 2023 June 4, 2023 Sonntagszeitung/jc
The Geneva-based humanitarian group has been struggling with a big funding gap for some time, a situation worsened by the Russia-Ukraine war. It recently announced it would have to cut 1,800 jobs to save CHF400 million ($440 million), the paper recalls.
The foreign ministry is“closely monitoring the situation at the ICRC and is concerned about the financial situation and the impact on the staff," the ministry told the Sonntagszeitung. Both the foreign affairs and finance ministries are“currently holding talks with the ICRC to discuss the current and future challenges linked to the ICRC's financial situation", the spokesperson confirmed.
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One of the issues under discussion is whether an interest-free loan of CHF200 million ($220 million) granted in 2020 to mitigate the consequences of the Covid-19 pandemic in developing countries should be repaid.
Switzerland has traditionally had close ties with the ICRC, founded by Swiss Nobel Peace Prize winner Henry Dunant in the 19th century and guardian of the Geneva Conventions. It is traditionally headed by Swiss nationals and since October has had its first woman president, former Swiss diplomat Mirjana Spoljaric Egger.Switzerland is the ICRC's third largest funder. Last year, the federal government contributed CHF166 million to the Geneva-based humanitarian organisation.
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