Treaties, States Parties and Commentaries
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Commentary of 2020 
Part V : Information bureaux and relief societies for prisoners of war
4683  The first three provisions of Part V (Articles 122–124) concern the management of information regarding prisoners of war so as to preserve, restore and maintain family links during armed conflict. The final provision of Part V (Article 125) deals with private relief supplies sent to prisoners of war with a view to improving their well-being while interned.
4684  Article 122 regulates the establishment and functioning of national information bureaux set up to process information regarding persons covered by Article 4 of the Convention. It prescribes the details to be recorded by the Detaining Power, collected and centralized by their bureaux and subsequently transmitted to the Powers concerned, through the Protecting Powers and the Central Prisoners of War Information Agency provided for in Article 123. The information collected and transmitted by the national bureaux serves to ensure that families know the fate and whereabouts of their relatives and protects against disappearances. Equivalent provisions can be found in the Fourth Convention with respect to persons protected by that instrument.[1]
4685  Article 123 foresees the creation by the Parties to a conflict of a Central Prisoners of War Information Agency in a neutral country.[2] In practice, these functions are performed by the Central Tracing Agency established and operated by the ICRC, reflecting its long history of humanitarian work on behalf of family members separated by armed conflict. The Agency endeavours to relieve the suffering of families by centralizing and transmitting information concerning prisoners of war, such as their whereabouts and state of health.
4686  Article 124 is a procedural provision aimed at reducing certain operating costs of national information bureaux and the Central Tracing Agency acting pursuant to Articles 122 and 123. It partially overlaps with Article 74, which provides exemptions from the transport costs of correspondence and relief shipments to and from prisoners of war.
4687  Article 125 regulates the conditions under which private relief societies may offer prisoners of war additional relief supplies and religious, educational or recreational material. It is without prejudice to the obligation of the Detaining Power to provide free of charge for the maintenance of prisoners of war (Article 15). The provision should also be read together with Article 9 regarding humanitarian activities and with Articles 72–74 regarding relief shipments.

1 - See Articles 136–139 of the Fourth Convention.
2 - Article 140 of the Fourth Convention contains the same obligation with respect to civilian internees and other protected persons.