ICRC advocates for mechanism to seek answers on Sri Lanka’s missing

ICRC advocates for mechanism to seek answers on Sri Lanka’s missing

The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) is advocating for a mechanism that provides answers on the fate and whereabouts of the missing in Sri Lanka.

The ICRC implements an island-wide support programme in Sri Lanka that addresses the emotional, economic, legal and administrative needs of families of missing persons.

On the International Day of the Disappeared which falls today the ICRC remembered the hundreds of thousands of people around the world who are missing or separated from their families due to armed conflict, other situations of violence, disasters, humanitarian emergencies and migration.

“The suffering of those who do not know what happened to their loved ones remains one of the least visible humanitarian problems. Not knowing what has happened to a parent, spouse, child or sibling, places an intolerable burden on families, as they live in limbo, unable to mourn, between constant hope and despair,” the ICRC said.

The ICRC said that people have the right to know what happened to their missing relatives. The ICRC continues to support States to do everything in their power to provide answers to the families, thereby upholding the families’ right to know the fate and whereabouts of their missing loved ones. This is first and foremost a humanitarian act.

“While they wait for answers about their loved ones, families of the missing often struggle to meet the many emotional, administrative, legal and economic challenges created by the absence of their loved ones. The ICRC responds to the multifaceted needs of the families of the missing and works with authorities to build their response capacities to address the needs of the families and uphold the dignity of their loved ones,” the ICRC said.

The ICRC noted that the humanitarian tragedy can be prevented. Concrete action aimed at preventing the disruption of family links and maintaining links between separated family members, ensuring the proper management of the dead, strengthening national frameworks and establishing relevant mechanisms and structures in line with existing obligations under international law can help address many aspects of this global humanitarian problem.

The ICRC said that the authorities, communities and the society at large should acknowledge the families’ plight, support their needs and stand by them in remembering their missing loved ones. (Colombo Gazette)

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