Afghanistan: ICRC provides humanitarian assistance and acts as a neutral intermediary in Pul-i-Charkhi prison riots
01-03-2006 News Release 06/13
Kabul/Geneva (ICRC) - The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) has been providing protection and assistance to meet the urgent humanitarian needs generated by a riot that broke out in Pul-i-Charki prison, on the eastern outskirts of Kabul, on Saturday 25 February. The riot caused the death of five detainees and left 22 others injured.
An ICRC team has been present in Pul-i-Charki prison since 26 February to assess needs for protection and assistance and to provide support for the various parties concerned.
The ICRC delivered emergency medical kits to the prison, and ten ambulances supplied by a Norwegian Red Cross programme were present on standby.
ICRC delegates assisted with and supervised the transfer of women and children out of the block where the riot occurred and provided the prison authorities with blankets and plastic sheeting so that they could be installed in a suitable new location.
The ICRC advised the prison authorities on the selection of another wing where 1,350 detainees could be relocated, and supplied material assistance to improve conditions of detention (1,500 blankets, rolls of carpet and plastic sheeting, jerry cans, brooms and buckets). It then supervised the transfer of the detainees to their new quarters.
The ICRC called upon all parties concerned to resolve the crisis in a non-violent manner and urged maximum restraint in the use of force by the security forces present on the ground. Constructive relations were maintained with all actors involved and this led to a largely peaceful resolution of the situation.
The ICRC has been making regular visits to Pul-i-Charki prison since the early 1980s. Thanks to its longstanding relationship with both prison authorities and detainees, it was able to act as a neutral intermediary in facilitating contacts between the different parties involved a nd to observe all measures taken in regard to the treatment of the detainees.
The ICRC will continue monitoring the situation and stands ready to provide any additional humanitarian assistance that may be needed in the coming days, such as facilitating the restoration of family links between detainees and their relatives and ensuring the return or repatriation of the dead to their families at the request of the authorities.
For further information, please contact
Olivier Moeckli, ICRC Kabul, tel. +9370 282 719 or +9370 276 465
Carla Haddad, ICRC Geneva, tel. +41 22 730 24 05 or +41 79 217 32 26 (mobile)