Red Cross head seeks governments’ action on missing persons

Peter Maurer

Peter Maurer

Concerned about the rising cases of missing persons worldwide, the President of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), Peter Maurer, has urged concerted actions to address the issue.

Speaking on the 2016 International Day of the Disappeared, which was held on Tuesday, Maurer asked governments to urgently address the humanitarian issue of missing persons, especially those who disappeared during armed conflicts or other situations of violence, natural disasters or migration.

According to him, concerted efforts are needed to establish and document the number of people who are missing and provide their families with the needed support and counselling.

“This is a tragedy affecting millions, but it remains vastly unacknowledged and under-reported. Such indifference is extremely disturbing.

“Disappearances are often a sensitive social and political issue, but that is no excuse for inaction. Governments must generate the political will necessary to provide answers.

“Steps must be taken to prevent disappearances and to collect all the information available when people do disappear. Because at some point, this information might help bring answers to families and other loved ones,” Maurer said.

According to the ICRC, those in this category include combatants missing in action, children who became separated from their families when they fled their homes or were forced to join armed groups, detainees unable to contact their families and internally displaced people and migrants who have lost touch with their loved ones.

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