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Azerbaijan: families of missing persons gather for commemoration

30-08-2012 News Release 12/175

Baku (ICRC) – Families of people missing in connection with the Nagorny Karabakh conflict are gathering today in Baku and Barda to commemorate the International Day of the Disappeared (30 August) together with representatives of the authorities, non-governmental organizations and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).

"The fate of more than 4,600 missing persons from all sides of the Nagorny Karabakh conflict is still unclear. Not knowing what happened to their loved ones is forcing the families to live in a state of perpetual uncertainty," said Bhava Poudyal, an ICRC delegate in charge of a psychosocial programme. "Living between hope and despair can be debilitating. The psychological toll it takes can adversely affect people's health and their social and economic life."

In its role as a neutral intermediary, the ICRC helps the conflict sides to account for missing persons. In addition, it makes every effort to provide support for the families and make sure their needs are met. ICRC-trained volunteers who themselves have missing relatives are helping the families to cope with the uncertainty and meet their varied needs. Together with local psychologists, they accompany and provide support for the families whenever they have to go to the authorities, NGOs, hospitals, lawyers, etc. for help. "Assisting the families will remain one of the major priorities of our humanitarian work in the region," said Mr Poudyal.

The ICRC continues to help many families all over the world who are desperate to find out what happened to their lost relatives. It calls on the international community to renew its commitment to addressing the plight of missing persons and their families.

For further information, please contact:
Shahla Gahramanova, ICRC Baku, tel: +99 412 465 63 34