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ICRC condemns U.S. stance on secret detention
www.chinaview.cn 2006-05-12 23:28:57

    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 secret detention.

    "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 continue.

    "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 November.

    Both UN human rights experts and European legislators have beentrying to uncover what is going on. Enditem

Editor: Wang Nan
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