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Kosovo: New meeting on missing persons

02-06-2005 News Release 05/40

Next week the ICRC will convene a new session of the working group on persons who are unaccounted for in connection with events in Kosovo between January 1998 and December 2000.

The meeting, to be held on 9 June in Pristina, will bring together representatives of the Belgrade and Pristina authorities as well as various observers. It will be the group's third meeting, the previous ones having been in March 2004 and March 2005.

The ICRC announced the session after the Belgrade and Pristina authorities reiterated their readiness to clarify what happened to the nearly 3,000 people still unaccounted for in connection with the events in Kosovo. Playing its role as a neutral intermediary, the ICRC chairs the group, which meets under the auspices of the United Nations secretary-general's special representative for Kosovo.

The mandate of the working group is to find and forward to the families information on the fate and whereabouts of persons unaccounted for. There is a pressing need for progress regarding this tragedy. The families of the missing have been waiting for many years to learn what happened to their loved ones and they have a right to know. The authorities on both sides have a responsibility to do everything in their power to resolve this issue.

The ICRC has for many years been striving to resolve the issue of persons unaccounted for in south-eastern Europe and to ease the plight of their families. It continuously reminds the authorities concerned of their obligation to clarify what happened to the missing. The ICRC has set up a database containing details, supplied by their families, about the missing individuals. In addition, the organization provides psycho-social and legal support to the families of missing persons and assists in the identification of human remains.

 For further information, please contact:  

 Idriz Ghashi, ICRC Pristina, tel. + 381 38 228 400 / +377 44 168 848  

 Florian Westphal, ICRC Geneva, tel. +41 22 730 29 30 / +41 79 217 32 26  

 Daniela Nikolic, ICRC Belgrade, tel. +381 11 344 15 22