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Guinea: ICRC activities in 2008

22-01-2009 Operational Update

Protecting detainees, restoring family links, supporting medical services, running water and habitat projects, promoting international humanitarian law and supporting the Red Cross Society of Guinea.


In Guinea, the ICRC visits people held in places of detention for which the ministries of justice and security are responsible. The purpose is to improve detainees’ treatment and conditions of detention, working in cooperation with the authorities. The ICRC maintains continuous, confidential dialogue with local and national authorities, submitting observations and recommendations whenever required.

Since 2004, the ICRC has been providing support to the national prison service ( Direction nationale de l'administration pénitentiaire , DNAP), helping the service enhance its management of the country’s prisons.

 In 2008, the ICRC:  

  • visited over 2,500 detainees during 120 visits to 27 places of detention, civilian prisons and central prisons;

  • set up therapeutic nutrition programmes for 700 malnourished detainees in 18 prisons;

  • held hygiene-promotion sessions in prisons;

  • donated essential medication and worked with prison health personnel;

  • distributed hygiene kits, mats and recreational items;

  • carried out repairs to prisons damaged during rioting in 2007;

  • worked with the DNAP on a set of regulations for prisons, applicabl e to all places of detention in the country.

 Restoring family links  

The consolidation of political stability, the opening of the country’s borders, the development of communication facilities (especially mobile phones) and the continuing repatriations conducted by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees have considerably reduced the need for restoring/maintaining family links.

As a result, the ICRC and the Red Cross Society of Guinea now only offer their Red Cross message service to those most in need. During 2008, 36 messages were collected (eight of them in prisons) and 63 were delivered.

The ICRC dealt with 19 cases of unaccompanied children and vulnerable adults who had become separated from their families by conflict. All open cases were closed at the end of 2008.




The ICRC continued the programme launched in 2007, through which the organization is supporting 10 health facilities – national and regional.

In order to enable hospitals and clinics to respond to crises such as that of May and June 2008, the ICRC:

  • provided surgical equipment and essential medical supplies;

  • began renovating electrical systems in accident an d emergency units and in operating theatres;

  • provided training in the surgical and nursing care of patients with bullet wounds for surgeons, doctors and nurses: transportation of casualties (42 participants), treatment of patients with bullet wounds (125 participants), care in accident and emergency units (40 participants) and nursing care (107 participants). The training was followed by a simulation exercise, involving 150 volunteers from the Red Cross Society of Guinea.

The ICRC also produced a compendium of procedures for treating casualties during emergencies, which it made available to a number of hospitals.

A study day was held for the morgue departments of Donka and Ignace Deen on the registration of victims and the identification of remains. The study day was organized in conjunction with the national forensic expert and the Red Cross Society of Guinea. The training was followed up with a donation of equipment.

 Water, sanitation and habitat  

Here too, the ICRC continued the programme it started in 2007. In particular, this included supporting the Guinean water board and facilitating access to drinking water for several towns and communities by conducting repairs and digging wells.

 In 2008, the ICRC:  

  • improved the water supply in Kankan and Labé by installing new electrical and water equipment, and by repairing two water towers in Kankan;

  • dug ten wells in the areas of Dubréka and Coyah, north-east of the capital, providing over 26,000 people with drinking water;

  • completed repairs at Donka Teaching Hospital (Conakry), at two other hospitals in the capital and at Labé and Kankan Regional Hospitals.

Promotion of international humanitarian law 


The ICRC is endeavouring to promote international humanitarian law (IHL) to academic circles, armed forces and security forces.

The organization is supporting the authorities’ efforts to implement IHL and is helping disseminate IHL and basic humanitarian rules to arms bearers (the army, the gendarmerie and the police) and to the general public.

 In 2008, the ICRC held:  

  • awareness-raising and training sessions in all parts of the country, each session attracting an average of 120 participants;

  • a refresher session for trainers involving around 15 senior police officers, in preparation for a large-scale resumption of training for new recruits;

  • dissemination sessions for some 50 gendarmes, police officers and local leaders;

  • awareness-raising sessions at several universities, covering IHL and the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement;

  • a three-day IHL workshop for university professors, members of the Red Cross Society of Guinea, army training personnel and representatives of NGOs and ministries;

  • an awareness-raising session for approximately 20 journalists.

The ICRC also handed out over 500 copies of the Guinean version of the soldier’s manual.

Cooperation with the Red Cross Society of Guinea 


The ICRC works closely with the Red Cross Society of Guinea, especially in the areas of dissemination, disaster preparedness and enhancement of structural capacity.

 In 2008, the ICRC:  

  • held two partnership meetings to mobilize support for programmes to help vulnerable communities – the Danish Red Cross, the Spanish Red Cross and multinational Rio Tinto responded favourably.

  • took part in preparations for the January 2009 national assembly, for which the agenda included revising the Society’s statutes, regulations and rules of conduct;

  • worked with the Red Cross Society of Guinea to help 780 families, providing emergency aid kits containing blankets, soap, kitchen utensils, a tarpaulin, etc.;

  • working with the French Red Cross, organized training for 17 trainers who, in turn, would be providing training in advanced first-aid techniques for situations of violence;

  • extended the Red Cross Society of Guinea’s radio network;

  • published 2,400 copies of folders about the Red Cross Society of Guinea, 200 copies of a bulletin on the first partnership meeting and 1,100 copies of a comic book about the Red Cross;

  • organized four workshops on the implementation of pledges made by the Red Cross Society of Guinea (on respect for the emblems and the importance of internal communication) at the 30th International Red Cross and Red Crescent Conference.

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