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Iran/Iraq: 1,999 Iraqi prisoners of war go home

12-04-2000 News Release 00/06

Geneva (ICRC) - Between 8 and 11 April, 1,999 Iraqi prisoners of war (POWs) held in Iran were repatriated under the auspices of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC). The operation took place at the Mundharieh/Khosravi checkpoint on the border between Iran and Iraq, under the supervision of 13 ICRC staff. During the previous two months ICRC delegates had registered and held private interviews with each of the prisoners to ensure that they were going home of their own free will.

This is the fifth release operation in a process launched in April 1998 with the aim of repatriating all remaining POWs from the Iran/Iraq war who wish to return to their respective countries. Since then 8,511 POWs have returned to Iraq, and three Iranian POWs and 369 civilian detainees have gone back to Iran.

Meanwhile, ICRC delegates have interviewed more than 4,600 Iraqi POWs living in Iran who stated that they did not wish to be repatriated.

Since the outbreak of the Iran/Iraq conflict in 1980, the ICRC has supervised the repatriation of more than 97,000 POWs held by both sides.