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Serbia: launch of Missing Lives exhibition

24-08-2010 News Release 10/159

Belgrade (ICRC) – A photo exhibition entitled Missing Lives opened at Belgrade's Kalemegdan fortress last evening to launch a "week of the missing" in the Serbian capital.

The event, organized by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) in partnership with Serbia's Commission for Missing Persons, was attended by representatives of government ministries, the judiciary, foreign embassies, international organizations, national and international media, the Red Cross of Serbia and families of missing people.

During the " week of the missing, " the public will be reminded of the tragedy endured by the families of people who have gone missing through the Missing Lives exhibition, posters, radio spots, press articles and television programmes. The week will culminate on the International Day of the Disappeared, 30 August, when families living in Serbia will gather for a memorial service, address the authorities and stage a protest walk through Belgrade to the exhibition venue.

" Behind dry statistics, there are individual men, women and children whose lives have been torn apart by untold violence, " said Paul-Henri Arni, head of the ICRC regional delegation in Belgrade. " Providing the thousands of families affected with news and support is fundamentally a matter of dignity and political responsibility. To fulfil their obligations, States in the Western Balkans must do much more. "

The families conveyed the same message at the exhibition launch: " We request that all the archives containing information on persons abducted and missing be opened, that exhumations and identifications be stepped up and that the governments of the region honour the agreements they have signed. It is high time that the agencies and institutions responsible bring this lo ng-lasting agony to an end, find out what happened to the kidnapped, missing and dead, and give answers to the families. We have a right to that information. "

Since 1991, the ICRC has been asked to trace 34,775 people who went missing in the conflicts in the former Yugoslavia. Answers have been found for 20,125 of them, but families of the remaining 14,650, still desperate to find out what happened, cannot recover the mortal remains of their loved ones and bury them in dignity.

For further information, please contact
  Gordana Milenkovic, ICRC Belgrade, tel: +381 63 287 415
  Christian Cardon, ICRC Geneva, tel: +41 22 730 24 26 or +41 79 251 93 02