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Bangladesh: citizen repatriated under ICRC auspices

31-10-2011 News Release 11/220

Dhaka (ICRC) – On 30 October, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) facilitated the repatriation of a Bangladeshi citizen who had been held in an immigration detention centre in Ramla, Israel, since August 2010.

On a regular visit to the centre to monitor the treatment and living conditions of detainees, ICRC delegates were asked by a Bangladeshi national to help him return home. "In accordance with our standard working procedures, we issued travel documents and made arrangements for the repatriation," said Christoph Vogt, the head of the ICRC delegation in Dhaka. "In its capacity as a neutral and independent humanitarian organization, the ICRC stands ready to play a role in similar operations in the future."

Prior to the repatriation, Bangladesh Red Crescent Society staff visited the detainee's family in Habiganj district of Sylhet division, and they too requested that the ICRC help him return home. "When you announce to the parents that they are going to see their son again, after he's been away for more than a year, it's such a magical and incredible moment! I cannot wait for the day when they will finally be reunited," said Zia ul Haque, a Bangladesh Red Crescent volunteer.

The ICRC visits places of detention throughout the world to ensure that the people held are treated humanely and in accordance with recognized international standards, which prohibit torture and other forms of ill-treatment. The ICRC shares its findings confidentially with the authorities concerned. On these visits, ICRC delegates also interview foreign detainees, including Bangladeshi nationals.

The ICRC has been working since 2006 in Bangladesh, where it assists people adversely affected by tensions and promotes international humanitarian law among the authorities, the armed and security forces and academics. It also strives to reinforce the capacity of the Bangladesh Red Crescent to respond to natural disasters and situations of violence.

For further information, please contact:
Ashot Astabatsyan, ICRC Dhaka, tel: +880 1730 357617