On the occasion of the International Day of the Disappeared, 30 August, the ICRC called on the international community to show greater awareness of the tragedy of missing persons and their families' struggle to find out what has happened to them.
Hundreds of thousands of people are missing as a consequence of armed conflict, other violence, natural disaster or other painful experiences, such as migration. Each person who vanishes leaves behind a large number of people suffering the anguish of not knowing what has happened, with their families suffering the most.
More than 4,500 people have been reported missing to the ICRC as a result of the Nagorny Karabakh conflict.
"The ICRC continues to support the authorities in their efforts to find out what has happened to people who have gone missing and to help the families, who are still anxious for news," said Nicolas Lambert, head of the ICRC sub-delegation in Barda, at a special event in the city. "Supporting the families of missing persons is a priority for the ICRC. People who themselves have a missing family member and who have volunteered to serve in a support network are now helping the families of the missing."
This year, the ICRC and the Azerbaijani authorities launched a new joint project involving the collection of biological samples from close relatives of missing persons. Denise Duran heads the ICRC's Azerbaijan delegation. Speaking at a commemorative event in Baku attended by Azerbaijani officials, the Red Crescent Society of Azerbaijan and other partners, she explained that "The biological samples will complement detailed data already available about missing persons." Relatives of missing people at the event stressed that their biggest need was to find out what had happened to their loved ones.
The ICRC, a neutral and impartial humanitarian organization, has been working in Azerbaijan in connection with the Nagorny Karabakh conflict since 1992.
For further information, please contact:
Ilaha Huseynova, ICRC Baku, tel: +994 50 316 00 24
- See our interactive map showing some of the ICRC's work related to missing persons
- For further information on what the ICRC is doing to trace missing persons and help families get back in touch, visit the Family Links website.