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Kosovo: More commitment needed to resolve issue of missing persons

07-12-2005 News Release 05/94

The working group on persons still missing in connection with the events in Kosovo between January 1998 and December 2000 met today in Pristina. The closed session focused on how to improve the functioning of the working group in view of its limited results so far.

The mandate of the working group is to find information on the fate and whereabouts of missing persons and forward it to their families. Both delegations reaffirmed their commitment to work further on resolving this pressing humanitarian issue.

The working group agreed that in order to elucidate the fate of persons unaccounted for, the support of the public was also needed. It therefore decided to launch a public appeal for any information that could be of use. " The main aim of the appeal is to help the families who continue to live in uncertainty, " said the ICRC's head of operations for south-eastern Europe, François Stamm, who chaired the meeting. " The authorities in Pristina and Belgrade are responsible for putting an end to this tragedy, but we are also asking members of the public to do all they can to ease the pain of the families of missing persons. "  

As   chair of the working group, the ICRC is asking anyone who has reliable information on the whereabouts of a missing person or on the location of a possible gravesite to contact the authorities in Pristina or Belgrade or the ICRC offices in those two cities. Any information obtained by the ICRC will be passed on to members of the working group and to them alone. The source will not be disclosed.

The working group meets under the auspices of the United Nations secretary-general's special representative for Kosovo, Søren Jessen-Petersen. According to the working group's provisional list, 2,494 persons currently remain unaccounted for compared with 2,557 cases in October and more than 3,000 cases at the beginning of 2 005.

    

    

    

 For further information, please contact:  

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

 Gordana Milenkovic, ICRC Belgrade, tel. ++381 63 344 155  

 Idriz Gashi, ICRC Pristina, tel. ++377 44 168 848