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Georgia: psychological support for families of missing persons

30-01-2004 News Release 04/08

At the ICRC’s initiative, mental health professionals from the Georgian Centre for the Rehabilitation of Torture Victims, a non-governmental organization, provided psychological counselling for the families of missing persons for the first time on 21-22 January.

Under expert guidance, the 20 participants – mainly mothers of the missing – took advantage of the session to express their anguish. New sessions are scheduled for the coming months.

In the course of its work to support the commissions set up in Georgia and Abkhazia to deal with the issue of missing persons – by providing technical assistance for exhumation and identification of mortal remains – the ICRC has become increasingly concerned about the needs of the families of the missing, people who have long awaited information about loved ones whose whereabouts are unknown.

In December 2003, the Georgian rehabilitation centre signed a memorandum of understanding with the ICRC to set up a programme to help the families deal with the psychological, social and other effects of their situation, in particular by setting up a referral system for collective or individual care.

Firmly convinced that the families have a right to know what has happened to their missing loved ones, the ICRC will continue to assist the Georgian and Abkhaz commissions in their work.

 For further information, please contact:  

 Paul Castella, ICRC Tbilisi, tel. ++99 532 935 511