United States: Head of operations completes US visit

12-12-2013 News Release

The director of operations of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), Pierre Krähenbühl, has wrapped up a week-long official visit to the United States capital, Washington DC.

Mr Krähenbühl met key National and Homeland Security advisors at the White House, as well as officials from the departments of State, Defense and Justice, and the military. He also spent time with senior members of Congress and the leadership of the American Red Cross.

The main thrust of his discussions was on operational concerns, including the need for improved and safer humanitarian access in Syria, as well as the recent bloodshed and worsening humanitarian situation in the Central African Republic.

Mr Krähenbühl's visit also focused on issues related to US detention, including pending humanitarian, legal and policy matters linked to Guantanamo Bay.

"There have been some signs of progress in recent months, including the start of Periodic Review Boards, which, we hope will offer an important opportunity for some of the detainees to have the reasons for their ongoing detention examined," he said.

"We are talking about a group of people who have been held for many years and whose fate and length of detention remain uncertain. The ICRC continues to raise its humanitarian concerns with the authorities, as part of its bilateral and confidential dialogue, on issues such as long-term detention and the ongoing transfers of detainees who have been cleared to leave Guantanamo."

"Overall, the discussions I had in Washington reaffirmed the quality of the dialogue  the ICRC has with the US on many important issues of humanitarian concern  – from providing help to those in need in places like Syria, Afghanistan and the Democratic Republic of Congo, to ensuring respect for international humanitarian law," Mr Krähenbühl said.

For further information, please contact:

Anna Nelson, ICRC Washington DC, tel: +1 202 361 1566, Twitter: @ICRC_dc