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India: ICRC report on visits to detainees in Jammu and Kashmir

28-05-1997 News Release 97/20

On 27 May 1997 the ICRC officially submitted to Home Secretary K. Padmanabhaiah, representing the Government of India, its second comprehensive report on the conditions of detention of persons arrested and detained in Jammu and Kashmir. The report sets out delegates'findings during visits to some 3,249 detainees carried out between late July 1996 and the end of April 1997.

The report gives a thorough assessment of the situation in places of detention and deals with specific concerns such as respect for the dignity of the individual, the physical and psychological welfare of detainees, the treatment of detainees by the security forces and prison authorities after arrest, the availability of adequate medical care and communication between detainees and prison authorities.

The efficiency of the ICRC's activities in this sphere is assured by the close working relations it maintains with the prison authorities at all levels and the private talks it holds with detainees, with whom it is essential to build up a relationship of trust. Reports such as this are confidential and intended only for the authorities to whom they are submitted. The ICRC began visiting detainees in Jammu and Kashmir on 30 October 1995 following the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding with the Indian Government on 22 June 1995, and a first report was submitted on 26 June 1996.

Access to all detainees arrested and detained in connection with the prevailing situation in Jammu and Kashmir continues to be high on the ICRC's working agenda.