This is World Red Cross Day and an official with the agency’s national office is in Des Moines addressing a timely issue. Michael Hoffman is director of the Red Cross’ office of International Humanitarian Law and Policy. With so much controversy lately about the U.S. abuse of Iraqi prisoners, Hoffman says the Switzerland-based International Committee of the Red Cross is the group that would be monitoring such things closely. The committee members visit prisoners of war, check to make sure they’re being properly cared for and are getting the food, medicine and other assistance they need. While he couldn’t specifically discuss the Iraqi prison situation due to legal issues, Hoffman said his appearance in Des Moines had been planned many weeks ago, well before the pictures from the Iraqi prison emerged. While his address may seem coincidental, he says it’s not. World Red Cross Day commemorates the birthday of Henry Dunant, the founder of the International Red Cross movement.
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