VISITS TO PERSONS
Key conceptsPersons in detention are protected by a number of international human rights standards.
Torture, corporal punishment, prolonged solitary confinement, punishment by placement
in a dark cell, and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment are
always prohibited. In addition, specific rights are set with regard to arrest and legal
procedures, pre-trial detention, physical conditions of detention, discipline, supervision of
detention, and other.The UN human rights field operation should:
• ascertain whether the ICRC is already visiting persons in detention in the country of
• always try to coordinate their prison visits with the ICRC; • be aware of ICRC methods of work from which some basic methodological principles
relating to such visits can be inferred.
• In visiting persons in detention, a team of several HROs (usually including a
doctor/medical staff) should:
• talk to the prison director; • tour the entire facility; • be able to visit all detainees freely and without witnesses, although in practice may
talk only to some detainees;
• talk to other prison officials; • have a final interview with the prison director; • within a few days prepare a confidential summary report for the prison director of the
conclusions and understandings established during the visit;
• prepare a confidential report (often relating to several facilities) to the Government; • repeat the visit to the prisoners and particularly those whom they have seen in
previous visits; and
• be able to visit all places of detention in the country.