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Former Yugoslavia: helping them get on with life

30-05-1996 News Release 96/21

Hundreds of women whose fathers, husbands and brothers have been missing since the fall of Srebrenica in July last year are still living in total uncertainty concerning the fate of their loved ones. Besides completing the gathering of tracing requests, forwarding these requests to the authorities and trying to obtain answers from them, from mid-June the ICRC will be launching a campaign among the general public, in an attempt to find additional information for these women. In the meantime the ICRC and the Swiss Red Cross are implementing a project in order to help them cope with their difficult situation. A total of 115 women and children are now settled in at a centre in Tuzla where a psychiatrist, a psychologist, a social worker and a teacher join efforts to provide therapy as well as skills for future jobs.

" The women have generally been brought up to let their husbands or fathers take charge and make decisions, " said Andy Bonnick from the Swiss Red Cross, who set up the project. " We now help them learn to take responsibility for their lives and to be proactive. But of course this is extremely hard - not only because they have to change the way they think about themselves but also because they live with the pain of not knowing what has become of their relatives. "