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Lebanon: ICRC calls for data on missing persons

28-08-2012 News Release 12/173

Beirut (ICRC) – The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) today called on families of people who went missing during the various armed conflicts in Lebanon to get in touch with its delegation in order to provide information on the missing relatives. This step is a part of a project launched by the ICRC in April to collect pre-disappearance data.

"I take this opportunity to call on all families who have a relative who went missing during conflict or violence in Lebanon to contact the ICRC so that they can be included in the collection of data," said Jurg Montani, head of the ICRC delegation in Lebanon.

The public call was made at the inauguration of an exhibition on missing persons to mark the International Day of the Disappeared, August 30. "Thousands are missing… And thousands are missing them" is the title of the exhibition which, according to Mr Montani, "should serve not only as a reminder that the families need answers about the fate of their missing relatives, but also offer a glimpse into their lives, their pain, courage and dreams."

Since the onset of the civil war in Lebanon in 1975, thousands have gone missing and the ICRC has been working to support their families for years. Following an assessment of the families' specific needs, the ICRC started in April to collect information about the missing persons. This information could facilitate the identification process in the future.

"The aim now is to make sure the information on the missing persons is not lost and that it is properly safeguarded," said Mr Montani. "This will ultimately serve to address the families' primary need, the need to know."

The ICRC has been permanently present in Lebanon since 1967, providing assistance and protection on a strictly neutral and impartial basis for the civilian population affected by armed conflict and internal disturbances.

NB: The families of missing persons can register for an interview to collect data on their loved ones by contacting ICRC's delegation in Beirut on 03-186386

For further information, please contact:
Samar el Kadi, ICRC Beirut, tel. +961 70 153 928
Basma Tabaja, ICRC Beirut, tel: +961 70 163462