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Prisoners Of War

Volume 403: debated on Monday 14 April 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what procedures are in place for screening prisoners of war for diseases prior to their internment with other prisoners and contact with UK forces; and if he will make a statement. [108205]

[holding answer 10 April 2003]: It is not possible to screen prisoners of war prior to contact with United Kingdom forces. However, prisoners of war are screened by UK military medical staff from 5 General Support Medical Regiment as they arrive at holding facilities. Those that require medical attention are referred to a field hospital.

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) if he will make a statement on the conditions in which Iraqi prisoners of war are held; [108281](2) if he will make a statement on the diet supplied to Iraqi prisoners of war; [108280](3) what facilities are available for Iraqi prisoners of war to send and receive correspondence from their homes; [108279](4) if he will make a statement on the medical facilities available to Iraqi prisoners of war; [108278](5) what the average time taken is for Iraqi prisoners of war to complete a capture card; [108277](6) if he will make a statement on the process following capture by British armed forces of Iraqi prisoners of war; and how information about the status of Iraqi prisoners of war is conveyed to next of kin. [108276]

Upon being taken prisoner, Iraqi combatants are evacuated to a safe location, away from the dangers of combat, as soon as is practicable. They are held initially at collection points by the unit taking them prisoner, where their identity is established and recorded. They are then transferred to a more permanent holding facility.In accordance with Article 70 of the Geneva Convention relative to the treatment of prisoners of war, upon capture, and subsequently following any change in location, every prisoner of war is given the opportunity to write direct to his or her family, and through the completion of a Capture Card, to the Central Prisoners of War Agency in Geneva. Prisoner of war details are given to the International Committee for the Red Cross who have the responsibility for the distribution of letters, parcels and Capture Cards.Prisoners of war are provided with Halal food in accordance with local practice. They are given one hot and two cold meals per day, and water and hot drinks are readily available. They are provided with shelter, in the form of carpeted, tented accommodation and, if needed, medical treatment.