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Jordan: Medical associations discuss better health care for detainees

28-03-2013 News Release 13/53

Amman (ICRC) – Representatives of 10 medical associations from Jordan, Algeria, Iraq, Libya, Tunisia, Lebanon, Mauritania, Yemen, Palestine and Bahrain met in Amman from 26 to 28 March to discuss the provision of health care in detention places in a regional conference organized by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).

The aim of the conference, held in collaboration with the World Medical Association, was to discuss how to enhance and improve medical services for detainees. ICRC specialists were on hand to share their expertise in this field and to explain the challenges faced by health personnel working in places of detention.

"Detainees have a right to health care and, once sick, they should be considered first and foremost as patients," said Dr Raed Aburabi, who coordinates the ICRC's activities relating to detainee health care. "This right extends to a standard of care that might not necessarily be available or practicable in prisons."

"By organizing such a conference, the ICRC hopes that medical associations will help doctors working in places of detention carry out their work in accordance with medical ethics," he added.

Participants in the conference also discussed such issues as the role of medical doctors in places of detention, striking a balance between working within security constraints and meeting health-care needs, the special health needs of detainees, and the challenges faced by prison authorities.

"The conference provided an excellent opportunity for various medical associations in the region to come together and discuss issues of mutual concern," said Dr Maha Al Kuwari, president of the Bahraini Medical Association.

The ICRC visits detainees to monitor the conditions in which they are being held and the treatment they receive, and to bring about improvements where necessary. It discusses its findings directly and confidentially with the authorities concerned.

For further information, please contact:
Hala Shamlawi, ICRC Amman, tel: +962 777 398 794