The break with their usual quiet diplomacy illustrates the Red Cross’s level of frustration at the intransigence of the US administration.
From The Guardian
WASHINGTON (AP) – Taking issue with the International Committee of the Red Cross, the State Department said Friday the United States is not obliged under the Geneva conventions to give the committee access to all prisoners under U.S. jurisdiction.
Department spokesman Sean McCormack commented in response to criticism about U.S. policies by ICRC President Jakob Kellenberger.
Setting aside his normal practice of keeping his views confidential, Kellenberger said in a statement Friday that he deplored the Bush administration’s refusal to allow ICRC access to prisoners being held in secret facilities.
”No matter how legitimate the grounds for detention, there exists no right to conceal a person’s whereabouts or to deny that he or she is being detained,” Kellenberger said.
He said the ICRC would continue to seek access to these people ”as a matter of priority” despite the ”the disappointing lack of results and the current U.S. position.”
Kellenberger issued his statement through the ICRC’s Geneva headquarters after meetings here with Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and other officials.