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Iraq: ICRC starts visiting Iraqi prisoners of war

31-03-2003 News Release 03/24

Geneva, (ICRC) – Delegates from the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) today began visiting Iraqi prisoners of war captured by the coalition forces. The ICRC team consists of 15 delegates, including one doctor and six interpreters.

During this first day, they visited all parts of the camp, located in southern Iraq, and registered an initial group of prisoners. The visit is due to continue tomorrow and for a number of days thereafter.

Prisoners of war are protected by international humanitarian law. They must be treated humanely at all times. The Third Geneva Convention gives the ICRC access to all prisoners of war, wherever they are being held, so that the organization can monitor their treatment and conditions of detention. The ICRC will also be striving to re-establish contacts between the prisoners and their relatives.

In line with its standard practice, the ICRC will not comment publicly on treatment or conditions of detention, but will submit its findings to the detaining authorities with a view to achieving improvement if and when required.

The ICRC is actively pursuing its dialogue with the Iraqi authorities, with a view to gaining access to coalition soldiers captured by Iraq.

    

 Further information:  

 Antonella Notari, ICRC Geneva, tel. ++41 22 730 22 82 / ++41 79 217 32 80  

 Nada Doumani, ICRC Geneva, tel. ++41 22 730 27 56 / ++41 79 244 64 14  

 Florian Westphal, ICRC Geneva, tel. ++41 22 730 29 30 / ++41 79 217 32 26