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First ICRC visit to Guantanamo Bay prison camp

18-01-2002 News Release 02/03

Geneva (ICRC) – On 18 January 2002, four delegates of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), including a medical delegate, started visiting the prisoners transferred from Afghanistan and detained by US forces at Guantanamo Bay Naval Station. The delegates will register the prisoners and document the conditions of their arrest, transfer and detention.

Under an agreement with the US authorities, the visits are being conducted in accordance with the ICRC's standard working procedures, which involve talking to the prisoners in private and giving them the opportunity to exchange news with their families by means of Red Cross messages.

These procedures include submitting strictly confidential written reports on the delegates'findings to the detaining authorities. In no circumstances does the ICRC comment publicly on the treatment of detainees or on conditions of detention. The ICRC delegates will discuss their findings directly with the detaining authorities, submit their recommendations to them, and encourage them to take the measures needed to solve any problems of humanitarian concern.