Red Cross hunts for ad agency following Abu Ghraib abuses

The Red Cross is opening talks with UK agencies about running a campaign highlighting the plight of detainees imprisoned as a result of the global war on terrorism.

Confirming that a possible ad initiative was under consideration, an International Committee of the Red Cross executive said: "We'd certainly like to develop some advertising, but the issue is sensitive and it's still early days."

It follows the outcry of the treatment of Iraqi prisoners at Abu Ghraib by US soldiers and those held at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, in connection with the war in Afghanistan.

The Geneva-based ICRC was itself the subject of criticism earlier this year for failing to speak out sooner about its report to the US military on abuses at Abu Ghraib.

ICRC representatives regularly visit Abu Ghraib and other places of detention in Iraq to speak to detainees and monitor their treatment.

Meanwhile, the ICRC has been voicing its concern to the US Government that the Guantanamo Bay prisoners are facing seemingly indefinite detention beyond the protection of the law.

The ICRC's last significant UK advertising was through Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO four years ago, with campaigns which focused on landmine victims and women caught up in war.

The ICRC's right of access to detainees is enshrined in the Geneva Conventions.

Its funding comes from states with are party to the conventions as well as other public and private sources.