Protection of detainees: ICRC action behind bars

31-03-2005 Article, International Review of the Red Cross, No. 857, by Alain Aeschlimann

The protective effect of the ICRC’s activities will depend above all on its ability to intervene on behalf of detainees by approaching the responsible authorities and, more generally, to overcome indifference.


Alain Aeschlimann
Alain Aeschlimann is the head of the Central Tracing Agency and Protection Division of the International Committee of the Red Cross 

The author describes the history and the premises and characteristics of the action of the ICRC in favour of persons deprived of liberty. He believes that the efficiency of its approach, in particular the visits to detainees, is closely linked to the respect of a constant and rigorous working method including the modalities of the visits and the confidentiality of the interventions to the authorities. Finally, the implication of the ICRC is to be inscribed in a large process and is complementary to the efforts of the authorities, other organisations and mechanisms as well as of the international community at large. Its approach however remains unique in several aspects.  

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