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Rwanda: ICRC awaits opening of new detention centre

06-09-1995 News Release 36

On 5 September the ICRC officially handed over the installations it had just completed at the Nsinda detention centre to the Rwandan Ministry of Justice. The ICRC's work consisted in providing decent quarters for 5,000 detainees, including water supply systems, sanitation and kitchen facilities, and a dispensary. The walls were built and the security infrastructure set up by the United Nations Development Programme and the United Nations Mission in Rwanda, in cooperation with the Rwandan government.

The transfer of detainees to this new temporary detention centre will hopefully alleviate the severe overcrowding which is the main cause of death in places of detention in Rwanda. " The opening of the Nsinda centre will be a first step to improve material conditions, but other sites urgently need to be set up by the government to prevent further worsening of the humanitarian crisis " , said ICRC head of delegation in Rwanda, Philippe Lazzarini.

More than 52,000 detainees are currently being visited by ICRC delegates in 220 detention facilities. They are being held in appalling conditions, with up to four people per square metre in some places. Many inmates have not been able to lie down for months and a lot of them suffer from oedema and gangrene in their feet and legs.