Subject: Red Cross Visits East Timor Jails

Red Cross Visits Fiji, Solomons, East Timor Jails

Monday: January 22, 2007

(Pacific Magazine)

Delegates of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) recently completed a series of visits to persons detained in detention facilities in Fiji, the Solomon Islands and East-Timor.

While the ICRC doesn't publicly comment on the findings of their detention visits, it does say private interviews were held with a total of 363 inmates and the physical conditions of detention were inspected.

The visits covered the entire populations of the various facilities. The main aim of the visits is to ensure that minimal international standards are complied with. These detention visits were conducted according to ICRC criteria.

The ICRC has communicated the findings and recommendations of the visits to the relevant authorities in each country.

The following prisons were visited: Korovou, Nukulau Island, Naboro and Labasa (Fiji), Rove prison (Honiara, Solomon Islands) and Becora/Dili, Baucau and Gleno prisons (East Timor).

In East-Timor, four Police stations under the control of Australian (at time of visit), UNPOL and Timorese Police were also visited.

In the Solomon Islands, in addition to the prison visits, the ICRC and the Solomon Islands Red Cross carried out a family visit programme which enables families from far away provinces to visit their detained family members. In 2006, during 119 such visits, 302 persons could thus maintain links with detained family members.

Furthermore, ICRC delegates participated in the training of new prison guards in matters related to International Humanitarian Law, Human Rights Law and activities of the Red Cross.

In East-Timor, detainees, whose families cannot visit them, used Red Cross Messages to maintain, and in some cases to re-establish family contacts.

190 Red Cross Messages were transmitted to the families by the National Red Cross Societies of East-Timor and Indonesia.

In 2005, the ICRC visited 528,611 persons in 2,594 places of detention in nearly 80 countries around the world. 46,288 detained persons were monitored individually. 25,831 detainees were registered and visited for the first time in 2005.

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