(Kiev) 6 March 2017: The president of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) Peter Maurer has arrived in Ukraine for a 5-day visit. During the visit, he will hold high level talks with representatives of the government and other officials.
The discussions will be focused on the difficult humanitarian situation in eastern Ukraine and the consequences of the recent intensification of hostilities on the communities worst affected by the conflict, which is now nearly three years old.
President Maurer will also seek to address the issue of people missing in connection with conflict and the difficulties faced by their families, whom the ICRC seeks to support. In addition, he will seek to address prospects for securing systematic and unhindered access for the ICRC to all detainees detained in connection with the conflict, on all sides.
Mr Maurer will also highlight the extreme vulnerability of vital pieces of infrastructure – including water, gas and electricity installations – located on the front line and reiterate the ICRC’s call to establish safety zones in order to enhance their protection from the effects of the hostilities. This is Mr Maurer’s second visit to Ukraine as ICRC president. The first took place in February 2015.
About Peter Maurer:
Peter Maurer was born in Thun, Switzerland, in 1956. He studied history and international law in Bern, where he was awarded a doctorate. In 1987 he entered the Swiss diplomatic service, where he held various positions in Bern and Pretoria before being transferred to New York in 1996 as deputy permanent observer at the Swiss mission to the United Nations. In 2000 he was appointed ambassador and head of the human security division in the political directorate of the Swiss Department of Foreign Affairs in Bern.
In 2004 Mr Maurer was appointed ambassador and permanent representative of Switzerland to the United Nations in New York. In this position, he worked to integrate Switzerland, which had only recently joined the United Nations, into multilateral networks. In June 2009, the UN General Assembly elected Mr Maurer chairman of the Fifth Committee, in charge of administrative and budgetary affairs. In addition, he was elected chairman of the Burundi configuration of the UN Peacebuilding Commission. In January 2010 Mr Maurer was appointed secretary of State for foreign affairs in Bern and took over the reins of the Swiss Department of Foreign Affairs, with its five directorates and some 150 Swiss diplomatic missions around the world. He succeeded Jakob Kellenberger as ICRC president on 1 July 2012.
Under his leadership, the ICRC carries out humanitarian work in over 80 countries. Mr Maurer’s priorities for his presidency include strengthening humanitarian diplomacy, engaging States and other actors for the respect of international humanitarian law, and improving the humanitarian response through innovation and new partnerships.
Since taking over the presidency of the ICRC, Mr Maurer has led the organization through a historic budget increase, from 1.1bn CHF in 2011 to over 1.8bn CHF in 2016.
For further information, please contact:
Sanela Bajrambašić, ICRC Kyiv, tel: +380 67 509 42 06