Over the past six months, more than 10,000 detainees in 33 places of detention have been visited by ICRC delegates. "The aim is to ensure that detainees, whatever the reason for which they are being held, are treated with dignity and humanity, in accordance with international standards," said Maria Elena Ciccolini, an ICRC delegate working in Libya. "Some of the detainees were given clothing and hygiene items, and in one place the sewage system was upgraded."
At Al-Mahdiyyah Retention Centre for Migrants, in the south of the country, the ICRC and the Libyan Red Crescent jointly helped improve hygiene conditions at a time of year when heat can have adverse effects on public health. Between 16 and 18 May, bottled water, hygiene items, mattresses, tarpaulins and sleeping mats were distributed to nearly 850 people in the centre. Similar visits were made to eight other centres accommodating approximately 3,000 migrants.
Helping families of Guantanamo detainees
Since April, the ICRC has organized teleconference calls on four different occasions for three detainees, from Tripoli, Benghazi and Misrata, held in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Their families were able to see and talk to them face to face. "My 17-year-old daughter had never seen her uncle before," said Abd-al-Salam, who drove with his family from Al-Bayda, around 200 kilometres east of Benghazi, to speak to his detained brother. "She was born after he had left Al-Bayda. This is the first time she was actually able to speak to him."
In May, the ICRC was asked by families in Beni Walid and by the Ministry of Justice to serve as an observer as the unidentified remains of 22 people thought to be from the city were re-examined. The ICRC's role was to witness the fact that the autopsies, by a five-member committee appointed by the justice minister, were performed in accordance with national and international standards. The ICRC submitted a report to the authorities and kept the families informed about procedures and results.