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 Report - ICRC Monthly Bulletin (ICRC)

 Report date: 31.10.2001


On 3 November, upon the request of the authorities concerned, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) assisted in the repatriation of three Azeri civilians from Armenia to Azerbaijan, and of one Armenian military serviceman from Azerbaijan to Armenia. Before their hand-over the four persons had confirmed to the ICRC their wish to be repatriated. The repatriation took place in the Gazakh region, with the full co-operation of the Azerbaijani and Armenian authorities.

In November, the ICRC carried out detention visits to one IVS (isolator for temporary detention) in Baku, and another in Ganja, under the Ministry of Interior. Visits were also made to Ganja SIZO (pre-trial isolator) and Gobustan prison under the Ministry of Justice. The visits were conducted in accordance with ICRC standard procedures, which include private interviews with detainees, and confidential discussions with the detaining authorities regarding the conditions of detention and the treatment of detainees.

During the month, the Orthopaedic Centre in Baku, operated jointly by the Ministry of Labour and Social Protection and the ICRC, housed 33 patients in its dormitory, and delivered 24 prostheses (including one for a mine victim) and 66 orthoses. Another 10 patients were supplied with crutches and sticks. A total of 75 patients consulted the Centre.

The Ministry of Justice runs a tuberculosis (TB) project within the penitentiary system of Azerbaijan. This program allows for the treatment and follow-up of detainees infected by TB. The ICRC ensures the supply of all necessary anti-TB medicaments to the central treatment facility in Bina district, Baku. In addition to providing technical advice, the ICRC also collaborates with the Ministry to monitor and evaluate the evolution of the TB programme. On 14 November, the ICRC and the Ministry of Justice signed an agreement on rehabilitation and extension of the bacteriological laboratory in Colony 3. This month, 584 detainee patients were undergoing TB-treatment in accordance with the standard recommended by the World Health Organisation, better known by its acronym DOTS (Directly Observed Treatment Short Course).

As a result of successful cooperation with the International Law and International Relations Society, the ICRC sponsored the translation of IHL documents into Azeri and publication of those texts in the International Law Review, founded by the Society. The review is available in the ICRC Baku delegation, free of charge.


The ICRC's 500 Afghan staff in Kabul have continued their work in the past weeks without interruption and without regard to what group is in control of the city. Since the city changed hands on 13 November, as before, they have ensured that bodies have been collected and buried, and that hospitals and other health facilities have received adequate medical supplies.

In the first two weeks of November, the ICRC restored a direct supply of safe drinking water to hundreds of thousands of people in Kabul. In one project, the ICRC's Afghan engineers and technical staff replaced about nine metres of a bomb-damaged water main, which was part of a distribution system that brought drinking water from bore holes on the outskirts of the city to some 300,000 residents.

On 24 November, the President of the ICRC, Mr. Jakob Kellenberger, paid a 24-hour visit to Kabul where he met with members of the organization's Afghan staff and expressed his high appreciation of their courage and commitment which have enable them to maintain the bulk of the ICRC activities in Afghanistan throughout the past two months.

In view of the possibility that major population movements may take place in Afghanistan, which is known to be one of the most mine-infested countries in the world, the ICRC is gradually resuming its mine-awareness activities.

ICRC offices in Herat, Mazar-i-Sharif, Jalalabad, Faizabad, Gulbahar and Kabul are again fully operational. In terms of assistance, the ICRC's immediate priorities are to ensure that health facilities (mainly hospitals) throughout the country and the six orthopaedic centres have the capacity to cope with the needs of the population, to support the rehabilitation of water supply systems within the towns that may have been damaged during the recent military operations, to distribute food and shelter material within the towns to particularly vulnerable groups of persons such as handicapped, widows, persons hospitalized and especially vulnerable groups of persons displaced within the cities.

In terms of protection, the ICRC's immediate focus is to access the detention places where members of the Taliban forces are detained by the United Front to ensure adequate treatment during their detention and to provide them with the possibility to re-establish contact with members of their families through Red Cross messages.

The ICRC is maintaining an open and constant dialogue with all the parties to the conflict at all levels. It is reminding them of their obligations under International Humanitarian Law, emphasizing their responsibilities with regards to captured combatants.

NOTE: The next ICRC bulletin willl appear at the beginning of February 2002, and will cover activites from December 2001- January 2002.

The ICRC wishes you a happy new year!

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