Abidjan — On 31 January and 1 February, a workshop organized by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and the Ministry of Justice, Human Rights and Public Liberties brought together prison authorities, representatives of government ministries and ICRC delegates.
The aim was to discuss conditions of detention and seek concrete solutions to problems encountered in Ivorian prisons.
"This workshop is part of the ongoing dialogue the ICRC maintains with the Ivorian authorities with the objective of contributing to an improvement in detention conditions," said Georges Comninos, the head of the ICRC's regional delegation in Abidjan.
Discussions focused mainly on public-health issues in prisons, such as access to medical care and to water, housing conditions, hygiene, diet and monitoring of the nutritional status of detainees.
"Our intention was to provide an information-exchange platform for everyone concerned by issues relating to prison management in the various government ministries, such as those of justice, health, the economy and construction," said Monique Crettol, who coordinates detainee-related work for the ICRC's regional delegation in Abidjan.
"During the two-day workshop, the participants discussed concrete and appropriate solutions to problems identified by the prison authorities themselves."
In Côte d'Ivoire, the ICRC visits people held in places of detention and monitors in particular those arrested in connection with the post-electoral crisis or with State security.
The aim of the visits is to ensure that detainees, whatever the reasons for which they are being held, are treated humanely and with respect for their dignity. In 2012, ICRC delegates visited more than 7,900 detainees in 69 temporary and permanent places of detention throughout the territory of Côte d'Ivoire.