We seek to alleviate the suffering of families, particularly by restoring communication between detainees and their relatives. In some cases, we also support former detainees, facilitating their return to society.
We have been helping detainees since 1870, traditionally focusing on people held in connection with armed conflict and other situations of violence, such as prisoners of war and civilian internees. We act as a neutral intermediary, especially during large-scale release operations.
Detainees may be in the custody of non-state armed groups. Whenever possible we try to establish a dialogue with these groups so that those under their control are treated humanely and have access to all the rights recognized by international laws and standards.
Wherever we can, we also visit people detained for other reasons, including the most vulnerable if doing so could improve their treatment and the conditions under which they are being held. Our work includes visiting detainees under the jurisdiction of international courts and tribunals.
While we pay particular attention to people held in connection to armed conflicts, our interventions – such as providing technical support and advice to the management of a place of detention, building a modern kitchen or renovating the sewage system – benefit all detainees in the places of detention in which we work.
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