§ Mr. Atkinson
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he proposes to request the International Committee of the Red Cross to visit British service men held prisoner of war in Iraq; and if he will make a statement.
§ Mr. Archie Hamilton
The International Committee of the Red Cross has reminded all combatants of their obligations under the Geneva convention 1949 relating to the treatment of prisoners of war. Representatives of the committee have made a preliminary visit to the United Kingdom and we will facilitate further visits in accordance with our obligations under the convention. We have made representations to the committee about British service men believed to be held in Iraq and, in particular, about our concern over reports which suggest that they are not being treated in accordance with the requirements of the convention. We understand that the committee's attempts to obtain access to British (and other allied) prisoners have so far been unsuccessful.