Ukraine: How is the ICRC helping people detained in relation to the conflict?

Interview with Emmanuelle Birraux, protection coordinator for the ICRC delegation in Ukraine, on visits to detainees

The ICRC is visiting people detained on both sides in connection with the conflict in Ukraine to monitor the treatment they receive and the conditions in which they are being held. Visits to places of detention allow the ICRC's delegates to register detainees and help them to reestablish and maintain contacts with their families. In every conflict, detainees enjoy the protection of international humanitarian law, which means that they must be treated humanely and their personal dignity respected at all stages of their detention. The ICRC strives to support the detaining authorities in this way.

Have you been able to visit those detained on both sides of the conflict?

On the morning of Monday, 26 January, the ICRC was able to visit four Ukrainian detainees held in connection with the conflict at Donetsk Trauma Hospital. During the visit, the ICRC was able to meet with detainees in private and discuss with them the conditions of their detention. In areas controlled by the Ukrainian authorities, the ICRC has so far been visiting detainees in facilities in Zaporizhia, Odessa, Poltava, Kharkiv, Mariupol and Kiev.

What can you say about the conditions in which detainees are held?

The ICRC shares its findings directly and confidentially with the detaining authorities concerned. It does not comment publically on what its delegates observe during visits to detainees, nor the identities or state of health of those visited. The ICRC reminds the detaining authorities, wherever necessary, that the captives' treatment and their conditions of detention must correspond to standards laid down by international humanitarian law, with the aim of ensuring respect for the life and dignity of the detainees.