Matilda Cooper is a detention delegate in Gaza, where she visits prisoners to monitor their physical and emotional wellbeing. She describes her work in places of detention, and the lessons it has taught her, in a guest blog.
I work in Gaza as a full-time detention delegate for the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), seconded from the British Red Cross. I speak Arabic, which I learnt during four years in Syria, and this is what enables me to communicate in my work.
The ICRC doesn’t allow our colleagues from national Red Cross societies to be detention delegates in their own country because of the strict need for neutrality, and also to shield them from the risks of dealing with sensitive information linked to conflicts. In Gaza, me and my two detention delegate colleagues regularly visit prisons, police stations, and interrogation centres.