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Belgium: exhibition on Balkan war missing

25-10-2010 News Release

Brussels (ICRC) – Fifteen years on from the wars in Croatia and Bosnia and 10 years after the end of the conflict in Kosovo, 14,600 people remain unaccounted for, and the families left behind are still suffering.

From 25 October to 5 November, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) will be presenting on the Place du Luxembourg in Brussels, near the European Parliament, an exhibition of photographs, entitled Missing Lives/Chroniques de vies disparues, documenting the plight of 15 such families.

Missing Lives pays tribute to the missing and their families. It is also designed to induce governments to do more to prevail upon the authorities in the Balkans to fulfil their responsibility to search for people still missing.

"It is unacceptable that thousands of people continue to be haunted by the unknown fate of their loved ones," said Paul-Henri Arni, the ICRC project coordinator based in the Balkans. "Governments in this region still have to search through their wartime archives and come up with the information needed to find the mortal remains of those who have gone missing in order to hand them over to their families. Solving more cases of missing persons would certainly promote reconciliation and stability in the Balkans."

This heartrending photo exhibition and the accompanying book showcase the work of award-winning British photographer Nick Danziger and acclaimed Canadian author Rory MacLean.

The exhibition will be officially opened on 25 October in the old buildings of Brussel's gare du Luxembourg. An introductory speech will be given by François Bellon, head of the ICRC delegation in Brussels. Other speakers will include Ambassador Luc Liebaut of Belgium, Peter Zangl, director-general of the Humanitarian Aid Department of the European Commission (ECHO), and Pierre Mirel, director for the Western Balkans in the European Commission's Directorate General for Enlargement.

The exhibition has already been held in London, Belgrade, Sarajevo, Pristina, Mostar and Strasbourg. After its run in Brussels it will travel to Banja Luka, Zagreb, Ottawa and Bern.

In Serbia, Bosnia-Herzegovina and neighbouring countries affected by the conflicts of the 1990s, the ICRC maintains its support for the families of the almost 15,000 people who are still listed as having disappeared during the hostilities. In addition, it collects information on missing persons and, together with the authorities, sets up mechanisms with the aim of obtaining more such information and sharing it with the families.

For further information, please contact:
Thomas Vanden Driessche, ICRC Brussels, tel: +32 478 24 00 51