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ICRC calls for detainee rights amid "progress"

swissinfo.ch
January 30, 2008


The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) has repeated its call for legal guarantees for so-called enemy combatatants held by the United States.

The Geneva-based organisation's president, Jakob Kellenberger, was in Washington, where he held talks with US officials.

The group said that while it remains critical of US policies, it added that "noticeable progress" had been made. An ICRC spokesperson cited as an example monthly videoconferences which have recently started with detainees at Bagram Air Force Base in Afghanistan.

However, the organisation pointed out that the US must do more to protect the rights of prisoners held in detention camps at Guantanamo Bay and at Bagram.

In meetings with administration officials including Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, Kellenberger said the ICRC remained concerned with interrogation methods. He also demanded that prisoners receive trials in regular courts.

The ICRC pays frequent visits to individuals suspected by the US of terrorism, including some 620 detainees in Bagram, and about 270 in Guantanamo.

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