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Visiting detainees

Visiting detainees

Through the Geneva Conventions, the international community has mandated the ICRC to visit both prisoners of war and civilians interned during armed conflict. Wherever possible, the ICRC also visits people detained in other situations of violence. ICRC detention visits aim to ensure that detainees, whatever the reason for their arrest and detention, are treated with dignity and humanity, in accordance with international norms and standards. ICRC delegates work with authorities to prevent abuse and to improve both the treatment of detainees and their conditions of detention. Read full overview

Facts and Figures

In 2012, the ICRC:

  • visited 540,669 detainees in 1,744 places of detention in 97 countries and territories, including detainees under the jurisdiction of international courts and tribunals;
  • monitored 26,609 of these detainees individually (including 626 women and 1,235 minors);
  • registered and visited 13,569 detainees (including 283 women and 1,085 minors) for the first time in 2012;
  • enabled 13,913 detainees to receive visits from family members;
  • issued 17,358 detention attestations.

Publications More publications

  • Health care in detention posters

    The Health Care in Detention posters seek to bolster respect for medical ethics in places of detention. Each poster represents a major ethical issue affecting detainees. The posters cover medical confidentiality, treating detainees first and foremost as patients, providing health care on the basis of need, and treating detainees without discrimination. They are intended for medical and prison staff, government and the general public.

  • Guidelines for investigating deaths in custody

    These Guidelines, the first of their kind, provide guidance to detaining authorities, investigating authorities, humanitarian agencies and others on preventing deaths in custody. They reflect international law, policy and best practice and offer a practical tool for both practitioners and decision-makers.

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