Guantanamo Bay: an enduring ICRC commitment
On February 7, the ICRC completed its 100th visit to the United States detention facility at Guantanamo Bay Cuba, where its delegates have been monitoring the detainees' living conditions since 2002 in order to ensure that they are held and treated in accordance with international standards.
During the two weeks they spent at the naval base, the team was able to meet in private with detainees from all of the camps, including some of those who are currently appearing before the Military Commissions.
The ICRC's interaction with the detainees can take many forms - from in-depth and face-to-face discussions to the quick delivery of a Red Cross Message (RCM) from a detainee's family. Many meetings take place in communal areas.
An important aspect of our work at Guantanamo is to establish and maintain links between the detainees and their relatives, who are scattered across the world. In fact, since 2002, we have exchanged more than 70,000 written RCMs between the detainees and their families, and since 2008, we have made it possible for over 3,100 video and phone calls to take place. These activities are made all the more important by the fact that the detainees' families cannot visit them in-person on the island.
As a matter of global policy, the ICRC is happy to talk about what we do, but we do not publicly comment on what we see in the 1,700 places of detention that we visit in almost 100 countries each year. Therefore, any specific observations or recommendations we might have about Guantanamo are shared bilaterally and confidentially with the US authorities, including Joint Task Force Command leaders on-the-ground and US SOUTHCOM.
In this new Intercross video, the the ICRC's head of operations for the Americas region, Patricia Danzi, talks about our general, ongoing humanitarian concerns for the detainees and the importance of our enduring commitment to them and their families.