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Guiding principles / Model Law on the missing

28-02-2009

Principles for legislating the situation of persons missing as a result of armed conflict or internal violence: measures to prevent persons from going missing and to protect the rights and interests of the missing and their families.

The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) remains dedicated to addressing the issue of missing persons which is of growing concern in the modern world. Families are left without news of their loved ones and must face a very harsh reality. Of primary concern is knowing whether the missing persons are alive or dead, dealing with subsequent effects of the loss, whether it be as a result of their absence or death, and of course the eternal question of why they disappeared at all. There are a variety of reasons for which persons may be unaccounted for as disappearances occur in different contexts, including enforced or involuntary disappearances such as abduction, and as a result of natural disasters or migratory movements. In particular, in almost every situation of armed conflict or internal violence, inherent dangers lead to separation and disappearances of soldiers and civilians alike. Within the context of international and non-international armed conflict, violations of international humanitarian law and of human rights account for most cases of missing persons.