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SCMP-Red Cross makes first jail vis

Subject: SCMP-Red Cross makes first jail visit 

SCMP-Friday  May 7  1999

Red Cross makes first jail visit

REUTERS in Geneva
The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) made its first visit to
a Burmese jail yesterday, with four delegates entering Insein Prison near

The ICRC said the terms of a verbal agreement with Burma's ruling junta gave
it access "to all places of detention in the country".

"We will have access to all places of detention and to the entire
incarcerated population," ICRC director-general for Asia Jean-Michel Monod
said at the organisation's Swiss headquarters.

Visits would take place "in accordance with the ICRC's standard procedures".
Under these, officials interview prisoners without witnesses and may make
follow-up visits.

The ICRC closed its Rangoon office in July 1995 after failing to persuade
the junta to sign a memorandum of understanding which would have allowed Red
Cross access to political prisoners.

Human rights groups and the opposition National League for Democracy have
accused the Government of detaining hundreds of party members without trial.