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ICRC President deplores lack of progress on secret detention

12-05-2006 News Release 06/43

Geneva/Washington DC (ICRC) – ICRC President completes talks with senior members of the US administration – deplores lack of progress on secret detention

The president of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), Jakob Kellenberger, today completed talks with Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley, Secretary of Defence Donald Rumsfeld, Deputy Secretary of Defence Gordon England as well as other senior US officials.

The main objective of Mr. Kellenberger's visit was for the ICRC to be granted access to all persons held by the US in the context of the fight against terrorism, an issue he first raised with the US government over two years ago.

Speaking after his meetings, Mr Kellenberger deplored the fact that the US authorities had not moved closer to granting the ICRC access to persons held in undisclosed locations.

" No matter how legitimate the grounds for detention, there exists no right to conceal a person's whereabouts or to deny that he or she is being detained " , said Mr Kellenberger, who went on to say that in spite of the disappointing lack of results and the current US position, the ICRC would continue to seek access to these persons as a matter of priority.

The ICRC has always publicly acknowledged that States may detain individuals not only in the framework of armed conflict or on criminal charges, but also for imperative reasons of security. However, Mr. Kellenberger stressed that all persons held by the US were entitled to a clear legal status and procedural safeguards.

 For more information, please contact:  

 Antonella Notari, ICRC Geneva, ++41 79 217 32 80  

 Vincent Lusser, ICRC Geneva, ++41 79 217 32 64  

 Simon Schorno, ICRC Washington, ++1 (202) 431 6906  

Read more about US detention and the role of the ICRC