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Croatia/Serbia: more action needed to find missing persons

04-11-2010 News Release 10/198

Geneva (ICRC) – Hundreds of people are still unaccounted for today as a result of the conflict in Croatia from 1991 to 1995.

"The process of elucidating the fate of those who went missing during this conflict is too slow," said Barbara Hintermann, the ICRC head of operations for Europe and North America, at today's launch of the "Missing Lives" photo exhibition in Zagreb.

"We are urging both governments to accelerate the process. The families of those missing have been waiting too long. They need to know what happened to their loved ones so they can deal with their loss, mourn their dead and move on with their lives. Not knowing the fate of a son, brother, or father brings insurmountable pain," she added.

The International Committee of the Red Cross is launching a photo exhibition entitled "Missing Lives" today in the Croatian capital, following appearances in other capitals and major cities of the former Yugoslavia.

The photo exhibition was launched together with a book carrying the same title, in which writer Rory MacLean and photographer Nick Danziger documented 15 tragic stories about missing persons and the prolonged plight of their families living in different parts of the Western Balkans.

Both the exhibition and the book were produced in 2010 to pay tribute to those who have gone missing in the Western Balkans and to the courage of their families. They are also a stark reminder to the authorities in the Western Balkans that they must do significantly more to provide the families of the missing with clear answers regarding the fate of their loved ones.

Since 1991, families have reported the disappearance of over 34,770 persons from all over the former Yugoslavia to the ICRC. Almost 20 years on, 14,610 people remain missing. These include close to 2,400 who disappeared during the conflicts in Croatia between 1991 and 1995.

For more information, please contact:
Vassily Fadeev, ICRC Geneva, tel: +41 22 730 34 53