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Kuwait: Iraqi families visit jailed relatives

08-02-2011 News Release 11/29

Kuwait/Baghdad/ (ICRC) – Families of Iraqi nationals held in Kuwait’s central prison completed today a visit to their relatives as part of a family visits operation organized by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), with the support of the Kuwaiti and Iraqi authorities.

"The ICRC organizes these family visits on purely humanitarian grounds," said Gérard Peytrignet, head of the ICRC regional delegation in Kuwait. "Family visits are crucial to the well-being of detainees, reminding them that they are not forgotten, giving them an opportunity to see their parents, wives and children and bringing news from home."

The detainees are among those arrested and sentenced in connection with the 1990-1991 Gulf War and still being held in the Kuwait Central Prison. Although this was the third time the ICRC had organized such visits, it was the first time some of the family members had taken part.

"Visits to long-term detainees whose families live abroad are a vital link, providing them with psychological support and reassuring them that they are still part of a family and can play their role as family members, especially towards their children," said Mr. Peytrignet.

As well as organizing family visits, the ICRC has regularly facilitated the exchange of Red Cross/ Red Crescent messages (providing brief family news) between the detainees and their families in Iraq during the past years. In 2010, 185 messages were exchanged between detainees held in Iraq and Kuwait with their respective families.

The ICRC has been visiting prisoners in Kuwait since March 1991. In Iraq, the ICRC began visiting prisoners of war during the 1980s and it continues to visit people detained in connection with armed conflict.

For more information, please contact:
Fouad Bawaba, ICRC Kuwait, tel: +965 9787 9434
Layal Horanieh, ICRC Iraq, tel: +964 790 191 6927