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ICRC and Sudan agree terms of detainee releases

14-02-2005 News Release 05/8

Khartoum (ICRC) -The Government of Sudan and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) signed a Memorandum of Understanding today on the rules and principles governing the release and transfer of persons detained in relation to the armed conflict in southern Sudan.

This follows the signing of the Agreement on a Permanent Ceasefire, the parties to which requested the ICRC to play its role of neutral intermediary in relation to the release of detainees.

This is the first step in the ICRC effort to facilitate the release and transfer of the detainees. Once the Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA) signs the same Memorandum, the practical details can be worked out between the Government of Sudan, the SPLA and the ICRC. Responsibility for carrying out the release, including the timing of the transfer, remains with the parties. The operational procedures outlined in the Memorandum of Understanding are based on long-established ICRC conditions for the release and transfer of persons detained in connection with a conflict.

The role of the ICRC is strictly humanitarian, and as such the organization will provide any humanitarian assistance required, including to restore family links, and appropriate logistical support to transfer the released persons to their former place of residence. Prisoners who express a preference to remain in southern Sudan are entitled to do so and shall not be transferred contrary to their wishes.

The ICRC has requested the Government of Sudan and the SPLA to grant all necessary authorizations and assistance for organizing the transport of released detainees and to have access to all those concerned with the release and transfer process in order to ensure the operation runs smoothly.

 For further information please contact:  

 Lorena Brander Bastias, ICRC Khartoum, tel. +249 9 121 377 64 / +249 1 83 476464/ 65/ 66  

 Marco Jiménez Rodríguez, Geneva, tel. +41 79 217 3217