A collection of photographs that gives an impression of the ICRC's work in the field of detention, including images of visits to those deprived of their freedom in different parts of the world.
To be deprived of one's freedom does not simply mean to be imprisoned in a cell – to be deprived of one's freedom of movement; it also means being deprived of the freedom to make decisions about one's life and livelihood and of the freedom to exercise one's responsibilities. It means being deprived of the company of family and friends. It sometimes means being deprived of any hope for the future and – all too often – of any protection from abuse.
Detainees are a vulnerable group of people. Whatever the grounds for detention, the authorities must ensure that respect for life and dignity is maintained. This is all the more important during times of armed conflict when too many detainees become the victims of abuses such as the denial of justice, physical or mental ill-treatment and even torture or forced disappearance.
Abuse may be committed out of hatred or as a means of repression or interrogation. Often, however, it occurs simply because the authorities lack the will or the resources to stop it happening. During their detention visits, ICRC delegates monitor the conditions in which detainees are held and conduct private interviews with them to uncover any specific problems. The ICRC strives to prevent ill-treatment or put an end to any abuse that comes to light. Lists of the most vulnerable detainees are drawn up and regular, private interviews are conducted with them. An ongoing dialogue with the authorities concerned aims to ensure that the lives and dignity of the detainees are respected.
Read more about ICRC visits to persons deprived of their freedom