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Nepal: Families have a right to know what happened to missing relatives

30-08-2013 News Release 144/13

Kathmandu (ICRC/Nepal Red Cross Society) – On 30 August, the International Day of the Disappeared, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and the Nepal Red Cross Society published the names of 1,360 people who went missing during Nepal's 10-year internal armed conflict (1996-2006).

The publication, which has been updated every year since 2007, is entitled "Missing persons in Nepal: Updated list - 2013" In addition to listing the names of those still unaccounted for, it lists the names of people who went missing but have now been confirmed dead; the families have been informed but they are still waiting for information on where their loved ones were buried.

A documentary film, "Don’t go so far", has also been released. The film, in Nepali with English subtitles, captures the emotions of the families as they travel from their homes to the gravesites of loved ones who were missing for 11 years. There, finally, the families are able to pay tribute to the deceased and to perform last rites.

"The primary aim of 'Missing persons in Nepal: The right to know' is to acknowledge the suffering of 1,360 families in Nepal and to draw attention to their need – indeed their right – to know what happened to their missing relatives," said Jérôme Fontana, the deputy head of the ICRC delegation in Kathmandu. "'Don't go so far' illustrates the emotional journey of families coming to terms with the fate of their loved ones."

"The Nepal Red Cross has been involved with the publication of names from the outset, updating and recording the list of missing people in close cooperation with the ICRC," said Dev Ratna Dhakhwa, the secretary-general of the Nepal Red Cross Society. "We feel the pain of the families of missing people and are doing everything possible to support this humanitarian cause."

The publication can be consulted on the websites of the ICRC and the Nepal Red Cross. Hard copies are available in the offices of both organizations in Nepal. The documentary can also be viewed and downloaded on the ICRC website.

The publication and film were presented to around 1000 people at events throughout the country that brought together families of missing persons, representatives of the Nepal Society of Families of the Disappeared and Missing (NEFAD), government officials, human rights organizations, civil society organizations, media, members of the armed and security forces and Red Cross volunteers, among others.

Under international humanitarian law, families have the right to be informed of the fate of missing relatives. The authorities are required to take all feasible measures to account for people who have gone missing, and to give families all the information in their possession.

 

For further information, please contact:
Binod Kafle, ICRC Kathmandu, tel: +977 9841699068 or +977 1 4285089
Dibya Raj Paudel, Nepal Red Cross Society Kathmandu, tel: +977 9841699068 or +977 1 4285089