GENEVA, May 12 (Xinhua) -- The International Committee of the Red Cross
(ICRC) has deplored the lack of progress made by the Bush administration in
allowing access to detainees held in secretlocations.
The head of the Swiss-led body, Jakob Kellenberger, expressed his concern
after talks with the U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, Defence Secretary
Donald Rumsfeld and other senior officials, said an ICRC statement issued on
Friday in Geneva.
The main aim of his trip to Washington was to persuade the
U.S.administration to allow its neutral delegates to visit people being held in
"No matter how legitimate the grounds for detention, there exists no right
to conceal a person's whereabouts or to deny that he or she is being detained,"
Kellenberger was quoted as saying inthe strongly worded statement.
Kellenberger added that in spite of the disappointing lack of results and
the current U.S. position, the ICRC would continue to seek access to those
persons as a matter of priority.
As to what channels the ICRC would use to be granted access, anICRC
spokeswoman Antonella Notari said on Friday that dialog with the U.S. would
"We will continue arguing our side of the matter. We do see that there is
an issue of security for the United States... in thefight against terrorism, and
that they have to protect the people in their country," Notari said.
"But we are convinced that there is a way to find a balance between
legitimate security concerns and security measures, and the respect for a lawful
procedure, especially when detaining people," she added.
The ICRC, whose work is based on the Geneva convention on armedconflict, is
the only independent body the U.S. allows to visit terror suspects detained in
Iraq, Afghanistan and Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and it has repeatedly demanded
access to detainees in "undisclosed locations".
Notari said the ICRC was used to facing "tough stands" on the part of
governments and other parties to conflicts.
The issue of secret U.S. detention centers and alleged CIA flights taking
prisoners to them became the subject of more intense international scrutiny
after a report was published about the issue in the Washington Post last
Both UN human rights experts and European legislators have beentrying to
uncover what is going on. Enditem