Man's inhumanity to man is growing in worrisome fashion as violence increases throughout the world, according to President Alexandre Hay of the International Committee of the International Red Cross, whose organization intercedes on every continent to aid the victims.
In meetings here this week with Reagan administration officials, including Vice President Bush and Secretary of State Alexander M. Haig Jr., Hay appealed to the United States, as he has to many other nations, to use action and influence to break the cycle of lawlessness.
Among strife-torn areas in which the Swiss-based organization is active and which were discussed by Hay and U.S. officials are El Salvador and Nicaragua, Angola and South Africa, Somalia and Ethiopia, Iran and Iraq and the Cambodia-Thailand border.
In an interview, Hay expressed particular dismay at what he described as increasingly bad treatment of prisoners, blurring of lines between combatants and non-combatants, terrorism, international piracy and hostage-taking.
"The positive side is that so many people are willing to help" deal with the consequences, even at considerable sacrifice and risk, Hay said.
Hay said he asked officials here to move promptly on ratification of protocols to the Geneva conventions on war, which were signed by 100 nations, including the United States, in 1977.
Seventeen nations have ratified the two documents, which establish and define protections for civilians and non-combatants in wars and internal uprisings.
The administration's position on ratification of the protocols is under consideration in the Defense Department. Hay urged that his work be expedited, but he received no clear administration commitment.
Hay expressed satisfaction at what he described as friendly and positive discussions here. He noted that, despite budgetary stringency, the administration had agreed to contribute $1.5 million to a special fund to finance International Red Cross contacts with political prisoners.
The appeal for the money was made to the Carter administration about a year ago, but was been acted upon at that time.