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Croatia: family visits to detainees from Eastern Slavonia

09-04-1997 News Release 97/13

Last Saturday, as a result of an initiative taken by the ICRC, families living in the region of Eastern Slavonia, Srem and Baranja were able to pay a first visit to relatives detained in a prison in Pozega (Western Slavonia).

The ICRC began talks on the matter with the Croatian Ministries of Justice and the Interior some weeks ago. After all the necessary authorizations had been obtained, and thanks also to the support of UNTAES, four prisoners were eventually allowed to see their relatives after years of separation.

The families, from the towns of Beli Manastir and Vukovar, were taken in ICRC vehicles to the prison, where they were allowed to spend an hour and a half with their loved ones in the visitors'room. Emotion ran high, and eyes filled with tears as people embraced for the first time in up to five years.

This family visit was the first organized by the ICRC for detainees whose relatives live in the Eastern Slavonia region. The programme is to be extended to cover other detainees held in prisons throughout Croatia.