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Jordan: Conference on health care in Middle Eastern and North African prisons

25-03-2014 News Release 14/49

Geneva/Amman (ICRC) – The second regional conference on health care in places of detention, organized by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), started today in Amman. The first such conference was held two years ago, also in the Jordanian capital.

The prison authorities and health professionals taking part alongside ICRC specialists in the three-day meeting are from 12 Middle Eastern and North African countries where the ICRC visits detainees.

"Detainees need health care as much as anybody else. They are entitled to receive the treatment they require, but it cannot be provided for them without cooperation between health, justice and interior ministries," said Dr Raed Aburabi, who coordinates the ICRC's activities relating to detainee health care. "The specialized personnel who have gathered in Amman are not only conference participants; they are also the people we will work with in their respective countries to improve prison health services."

The participants will discuss such issues as the challenge of striking a balance between security considerations and health-care needs, international standards of health care in places of detention, medical ethics and the role of medical doctors in places of detention, the effect of solitary confinement, the medical consequences of ill-treatment, and the management of hunger strikes.

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
Sitara Jabeen, ICRC Geneva, tel: +41 227 30 24 78 or +41 79 536 92 31