Detention – particularly the initial days - can be a very traumatic experience for foreign national prisoners. Many do not speak the local language, and they may not understand why they are detained or how the legal system in the country operates. In these circumstances, the right of detainees to have contact with a consular representative of their State if they so choose is very important. Support from consular officials may be vital in the initial days of detention, and such support may extend throughout the entire term of detention.
This right attaches to foreign national detainees. This term ‘foreign national detainee’ refers to those who do not have citizenship of the country in which they are imprisoned.