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Myanmar: ICRC visits to detainees -- interim assessment

03-09-1999 News Release 99/48

Geneva (ICRC) -- For the first time in Myanmar teams of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) have visited more than 18,000 detainees and registered over 600 security detainees. Since the ICRC visits began last May, delegates have been to nine places of detention, including Yangon's Insein Prison and the central prison in Mandalay, and to three places of administrative internment.

Each visit was conducted according to the ICRC's standard working procedures, and included an initial discussion with the authorities administering the facility, a complete inspection of the premises, access to all the detainees, and private interviews with security detainees, who were given the opportunity to write Red Cross messages to their families.

The delegates had a meeting after each visit with the authorities in charge, putting forward recommendations regarding the situation they had observed. Confidential written reports were then handed over to the relevant Myanmar authorities.

The ICRC and the country's authorities have agreed that delegates would be able to return on a regular basis to all the places visited. The programme will gradually be extended to all detention facilities in Myanmar.