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ICRC seeking access to all persons held in conflict between Ecuador and Peru

15-02-1995 News Release 7

In accordance with its mandate, the ICRC is maintaining contact with both parties to the armed conflict between Ecuador and Peru with a view to obtaining notification of and access to all civilian internees and prisoners of war held by either side.

So far the ICRC has been notified of eight Ecuadorian civilians interned in Peru, six of whom have been visited by delegates.

The ICRC has made a further visit to two Peruvian POWs in Ecuador and is negotiating with the Ecuadorian authorities to gain access to two more prisoners notified.

The visits to civilian internees and POWs were carried out in accordance with the ICRC's customary procedures and the persons concerned were given the opportunity to exchange Red Cross messages with their families.

A large number of people have been displaced as a result of fighting in the border dispute between Ecuador and Peru in the Rio Cenepa area of the Marañon river basin, in the Condor mountain range. The ICRC, working together with the Peruvian and Ecuadorian Red Cross Societies, has begun assessing the most urgent needs of the displaced population.

There are an estimated 4,000 displaced persons in Ecuador. ICRC delegates and the Ecuadorian Red Cross have started evaluating emergency requirements among civilians in the provinces of Zamora and Loja. A preliminary survey has revealed a need for drinking water, medicines for health centres and basic sanitation facilities to cope with the influx of displaced people.

On 30 January the ICRC sent a memorandum to t he two governments reminding them of the provisions of international humanitarian law and requesting access to POWs and civilian internees held in connection with the conflict, pursuant to its mandate under the Third and Fourth Geneva Conventions.