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Does the ICRC still visit prisoners in Iraq?

11-08-2003 FAQ

Yes. In line with its mandate under the Geneva Conventions, the ICRC has access to places of detention under the authority of the Coalition forces. These include prisoners of war (POWs) held at Umm Qasr in southern Iraq, and other detainees such as civilian internees and common law prisoners in some 30 places of detention around the country

Coalition forces say they are currently holding about 5,000 prisoners (both military and civilian ). The precise number varies because of the high turnover of common law prisoners (people accused of criminal activities not necessarily related to the conflict). The ICRC tries to visit each place at least once a month.


Following its standard procedure, the ICRC registers the prisoners'names, checks their conditions of detention and treatment, talks with them in private, and collects and transmits Red Cross messages to allow prisoners to maintain contact with their families.