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ICRC detention visits in Fiji, the Soloman Islands and Timor-Leste

22-01-2007 News Release

ICRC delegates recently completed a series of visits to people held in detention facilities in Fiji, the Solomon Islands and Timor-Leste.

 The following was issued as a press release by the ICRC delegation in Suva  

Korovou, Nukulau Island, Naboro and Labasa (Fiji), Rove prison (Honiara, Solomon Islands) and Becora/Dili, Baucau and Gleno (Timor-Leste) were among the prisons visited.

In Timor-Leste, four police stations under the control of Australian authorities (at time of visit), UNPOL (UN Police) and Timorese Police were also visited.

During the visits, private interviews were held with a total of 363 inmates and the physical conditions of detention were inspected. While the ICRC is primarily concerned with persons detained as a result of armed conflict or unrest, the visits covered the entire populations of the various facilities. The main aim of the visits is to ensure that minimal international standards are complied with. These detention visits were conducted according to ICRC criteria.

On the basis of its findings, the ICRC was able to understand the causes of recorded problems. The conclusions of these visits were subsequently communicated to the competent authorities and, where necessary, recommendations were made. The ICRC does not comment publicly on findings made during visits to detention facilities.

In the Solomon Islands, in addition to the prison visits, the ICRC and the Solomon Islands Red Cross carried out a family visit programme   which enables relatives from far away provinces to visit their detained family members. In 2006, during 119 such visits, 302 persons could thus maintain links with detained family members.

ICRC delegates also participated in the training of new prison guards in matters related to international humanitarian law, human rights law and Red Cross activities.

In Timor-Leste, detainees whose families could not visit them used Red Cross messages   to maintain, and in some cases to re-establish family contacts. 190 Red Cross messages were transmitted to the families by the National Red Cross Societies of Timor-Leste and Indonesia.

In 2005, the ICRC visited 528,611 persons in 2,594 places of detention in nearly 80 countries around the world. 46,288 detained persons were monitored individually and 25,831 detainees were registered and visited for the first time in 2005.

 For further information in Fiji:  

 Roland Bigler, Communications Co-ordinator or Josua Tuwere, Communications Officer, ICRC Suva, ++679 330 2156  

    

 For further information in New Zealand and Australia:  

 Pauline Wall, Communications Officer, ICRC Sydney, ++61 (0)2 93 88 90 39