Sir Nicholas Young has paid tribute to Khalil Dale following yesterday's confirmation of the murder of the aid worker in Pakistan.
Sir Nicholas, British Red Cross chief executive, said that 60-year-old Dale was "a gentle, kind person, who devoted his life to helping others, including some of the world's most vulnerable people".
British national Khalil Rasjed Dale, formerly Ken Dale prior to his conversion to Islam, had worked for the Red Cross since 1981 when he worked distributing food and improving the health of people caught up in the droughts in Kenya. He had since worked in Sudan, Somalia, Afghanistan and Iraq before moving to Pakistan to work with the ICRC, advised Sir Nicholas.
"He did not shy away from tough assignments," said Sir Nicholas, "in the name of improving the lives of others. He was a brave man who had the utmost respect of his colleagues in the Red Cross and in the humanitarian world generally."
Dale was taken hostage by armed men at around 1pm on 5 January. He was on his way back from work as a health-programme manager in Quetta, the largest city in Balochistan, one of Pakistan's four provences, and was snatched just 200 metres away from his residence. His murder was confirmed to the ICRC yesterday after Dale had spent four months in captivity.
ICRC worked 'extremely hard' to secure release
Yves Daccord, director-general of the ICRC, said those at the organisation were "devastated" by the news and expressed his anger at the loss:
"Khalil was a trusted and very experienced Red Cross staff member who significantly contributed to the humanitarian cause," he said.
"The ICRC condemns in the strongest possible terms this barbaric act.
"All of us at the ICRO and at the British Red Cross share the grief and outrage of Khalil's family and friends."
The ICRC had worked "extremely hard" to secure Dale's release following his kidnap, advised Pierre Krahenbuhl, director of operations at the ICRC, who added that there were still "many uncertainties" as to the circumstances surrounding the murder.
National press have reported that Dale was found beheaded with a note saying that he was killed by the Taliban.
Hague: Tireless efforts to secure release
Foreign Secretary William Hague added his voice to the resounding condemnation of the act which he said followed "tireless efforts" by the Red Cross in collaboration with the British Government.
"This was a senseless and cruel act targetting someone whose role was to help the people of Pakistan," he said.
The ICRC has four basic health units in Balochistan. In 2008 the ICRC launched a major operation in response to an earthquake in the area and has since worked with the victims of severe floods which affected surrounding communities in 2010. But relief work has been made difficult due to insurgency, former head of the ICRC delegation in Pakistan Pascal Cuttat said in an interview last year.
"Successive military operations in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas, multiple natural disasters – the Balochistan earthquake and the 2010 monsoon floods – and the general spill-over of violence to major cities led to increased humanitarian needs [in Pakistan]. By 2010, ICRC activities in Pakistan were anything but a support operation. The operating environment in Pakistan became more complex and security less predictable than in many other countries," he said.
ICRC works closely with the Pakistan Red Crescent in its operations in the country.