International Red Cross Visits Iraqi War Prisoners - 1 April, 2003

Representatives of the International Committee of the Red Cross /ICRC/ started visiting Iraqi war prisoners, captured by the US and British forces. A group of 15 people, including one doctor and six interpreters, visited war prisoners on Monday, the ICRC Moscow office disclosed.

At the first day of the visit the ICRC representatives visited the camp for prisoners-of-war situated in southern Iraq and registered the first group of war prisoners. The visits will continue on Tuesday and for the next few days, the representation disclosed.

The Committee pointed out that the POWs are protected by International Human Rights and therefore must be treated humanly. In accordance with the Third Geneva Convention, the ICRC must gain access to all POWs despite their place of detention and must monitor the way they are treated and kept. The Committee also intends to "restore connections between the war prisoners and their relatives." The ICRC is developing an active dialogue with the Iraqi authorities in order to gain access to coalition soldiers captured by Iraq, the Moscow representation disclosed.

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Author`s name Petr Ermilin