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Russian Federation: ICRC president calls upon President Putin to allow resumption of visits to detainees

27-06-2006 News Release 06/64

Geneva/Moscow (ICRC) – In an official letter sent to the president of the Russian Federation, Vladimir Putin, the president of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), Jakob Kellenberger, called for ICRC visits to persons detained in connection with the situation in the northern Caucasus to be resumed and conducted in accordance with the standard procedures used by the organization throughout the world.

ICRC detention visits in the Russian Federation, which are governed by an agreement reached in 2000, had to be suspended in September 2004 because there were too many obstacles to conducting them properly. Since then the ICRC had been having discussions with the Russian authorities on resuming its visits to detainees. It regrets that these negotiations have failed.

Mr Kellenberger is deeply concerned but remains convinced that the ICRC’s activities in the Russian Federation – especially its visits to detainees – respond to a real need in humanitarian terms and play a constructive role which also benefits the federal and local authorities in charge of detention.

In his letter to Mr Putin, Mr Kellenberger pointed out that the ICRC follows its customary working procedures in some 80 countries around the world. He concluded by emphasizing that he is prepared to go to Moscow to discuss the future of cooperation between the Russian Federation and the ICRC with Mr Putin.

 For further information, please contact:  

 Annick Bouvier, ICRC Geneva, tel : +41 22 730 24 58 or +41 79 217 32 24  

 David-Pierre Marquet, ICRC Moscow, tel : +7 495 926 5426 or +7 906 708 46 37