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Democratic Republic of the Congo: round table on detention in Katanga province

06-03-2009 News Release 09/47

Lubumbashi (ICRC) – During a three-day round table in Lubumbashi, which came to an end today, provincial government representatives and a number of prison officials, including eight provincial prison directors, discussed various aspects of prison management with experts from the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).

The ICRC has been visiting places of detention in the province for over 12 years. In carrying out these visits, making recommendations, and providing assistance on an ad hoc basis, the organization endeavours to improve conditions for persons deprived of their liberty. The ICRC has built a working relationship with the provincial and prison authorities over the years which has resulted in concrete measures, this meeting included.

" This round table is a continuation of our work on behalf of detainees, " explained Thierry Schreyer, an ICRC protection coordinator. " Although we are delighted at the quality of our dialogue with the different parties, there are ongoing problems which require urgent action. Prison sanitation and hygiene, detainees’ access to medical care, and the administration of justice were therefore the issues tackled.”

Over the three days, participants were able to discuss these matters freely and openly and come up with an action plan that offers solutions which are realistic and which respect the budgetary constraints in Katanga province.

'' The ICRC will continue to visit places of detention in Katanga and in the rest of the country, as per the agreements signed with the Congolese government,” said Anwaz Hanif Bashir, head of the ICRC’s sub-delegation in Lubumbashi. “However, determination on the part of the national and provincial authorities will be needed to ensure that people can eventually be held in conditions that meet national and international standards.”

For further information, please contact:
  Anwaz Hanif Bashir, ICRC Lubumbashi, tel: +243 9 970 22 507 or +243 81 899 6844
  Inah Kaloga, ICRC Kinshasa, tel: + 243 81 700 85 36