Families of the missing live with uncertainty about the fate of their loved ones

28 August 2015

Kampala (ICRC) – Families of thousands of missing persons in northern Uganda continue to live in the sorrowful ambiguity of the loss of their loved ones, unsure whether to wait for their uncertain return or consider them as dead.

Due to the armed conflict that took place in northern Uganda between 1986 and 2006, tens of thousands of people disappeared. The suffering of families of those who are still missing is most often neglected and their agony not easily understood by others. Torn between hope and despair, these families face psychological problems such as anxiety, depression or inertness and sometimes stigmatization from the communities.

In order to alleviate the pain of these families, the ICRC in 2013 started ''Accompaniment of the Families of the Missing'' program. It aims to foster long-term support by creating a network between families of the Missing and available local resources, strengthen their coping abilities and help them rebuild their emotional well-being and social lives again. Over 1000 families have benefited so far from this program.

Marking the International Day of the Disappeared on 30th August, the ICRC will hold a day-long commemoration event in Kitgum, northern Uganda, to give families the opportunity to jointly honor the memory of those who are still missing and bring their suffering to the attention of the wider public.

Present in Uganda since 1979, the ICRC visits detainees to check on their conditions of detention and treatment, and supports families of the missing persons. It also promotes the teaching and learning of International Humanitarian Law and basic Humanitarian principles among the armed forces, police and universities. The ICRC in partnership with the Ugandan Red Cross Society reconnects families separated by armed conflicts in the region and supports capacity-building efforts of the latter.

For further information, please contact:
Salah Uddin, ICRC Kampala: +256 772 221 994