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Kuwait: missing persons a constant concern for ICRC

29-08-2009 News Release 09/178

Kuwait (ICRC) – Nearly 20 years after the guns fell silent, the humanitarian impact of the 1990-1991 Gulf War lingers on.

This is particularly true for the families of several hundred persons on all sides of the conflict who remain unaccounted for, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) said today ahead of the International Day of the Disappeared (30 August).

" The plight of people missing in armed conflict and the suffering of their families have been a constant concern for the ICRC, " said Jean-Michel Monod, the head of the organization's regional delegation in Kuwait. " Until the mortal remains of their missing relatives are identified, the families suffer the cruel pain of uncertainty. They want to know – and they have a right to know – what happened to their missing relatives. "

According to Mr Monod, even when remains are found, most families will not believe that they are those of a long-lost relative until the fact is confirmed by means of a scientific test, such as DNA cross-matching, or through a documented chain of events linking a body and a gravesite with information already in the family's possession about the circumstances of their relative's disappearance.

" Our objective is to provide answers to the families of the missing, " said Mr Monod. " That is why we work with all parties concerned to determine what happened to those unaccounted for and to inform their families accordingly. "

The ICRC supports the families'right to know what befell their missing relatives. Within existing coordination mechanisms, it reminds the countries concerned of their obligation to provide information that could shed light on the fate of missing people.

  For further information, please contact:
  Fouad Bawaba, ICRC Kuwait, tel +965 9787 9434 or +965 25322061