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Chad: ICRC helps 369 ex-detainees return to their villages

28-01-2011 News Release

N’Djamena / Geneva (ICRC) – The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) was today present at the release in N’Djamena of 369 persons held by the Chadian authorities.

Head of delegation Judith Greenwood explains: “We agreed to the Chadian government’s request to help these detainees get home on purely humanitarian grounds. The vast majority of these people had been arrested following fighting between Chadian forces and various armed groups in N’Djamena in February 2008 and in Am Dam, in the east of the country, in May 2009.”

As a neutral intermediary, the ICRC takes no part in negotiations concerning the release of detainees. What the organization can do if asked by the parties involved, however, is facilitate communication between them and help them organize the transfer of detainees on release.

In this particular case, ICRC staff present when the detainees were released gave them a set of clothes and enough money to get them back to their villages.

The ICRC had been visiting these detainees regularly since 2008, and maintaining contact with the detaining authorities, in order to verify that conditions of detention were in conformity with the provisions of international humanitarian law that apply to non-international armed conflict.

The ICRC has been working in Chad since 1978, focusing on protecting and assisting the victims of armed conflict and other situations of violence. The organization makes regular visits to places of detention. In 2010 the ICRC conducted 63 such visits and monitored the cases of 485 detainees at 20 different facilities.

For further information, please contact:
Jean-Luc Noverraz, ICRC Chad, tel: +235 66 20 10 05 or +235 22 52 03 16
Nicole Engelbrecht, ICRC Geneva, tel: +41 22 730 2063 or +41 79 217 3217


N'Djaména. Group photo of the 369 detainees before the ceremony marking their release. 

N'Djaména. Group photo of the 369 detainees before the ceremony marking their release.
© ICRC / D. Merhy