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Morocco/Western Sahara: ICRC visits Moroccan prisioners held by the Polisario front

20-11-1996 News Release 96/46

Between 28 October and 9 November 1996 a team of six delegates, including a doctor, visited 847 of the approximately 1,920 Moroccan prisoners still held by the Polisario Front. This was the last of a series of three visits carried out between December 1995 and November 1996, during which delegates met nearly all of these prisoners. Most have been in captivity for over 15 years.

All of those who wished to do so sent a photo and a Red Cross message to their families. A distribution system for parcels sent by families was set up two years ago by the ICRC; it has enabled over 1,000 such parcels to be delivered to the prisoners so far this year.

In the past twelve months, 185 Moroccan and 66 Sahrawi prisoners have been able to return to their families. They were released respectively on 19 November 1995 and 31 October 1996, under ICRC auspices and thanks to the efforts of the United States, Argentine and German governments.

The tragic situation of prisoners captured during the Western Sahara conflict remains a major concern of the ICRC. It will continue to make all the representations that it considers necessary and reiterates its availability to assist in finding a comprehensive solution to this humanitarian problem.