Iraq - The Missing: Sharing the Families’ Needs and Demands

Iraq - The Missing: Sharing the Families’ Needs and Demands

On the International Day of the Disappeared, we remember all the people who went missing during the many years of armed conflict in Iraq. Today, we stand with their families, whose pain and suffering still did not end and we place their needs and demands on the agenda of decision makers.
News release 24 August 2021 Iraq

Decades of successive conflicts and periods of violence in the country have led to hundreds of thousands of disappearances, which makes Iraq one of the countries in the world with the largest number of missing persons.

 Fighting may have subsided; however, the battles of the families of missing persons continue. No matter which armed conflict caused the disappearance of their loved ones, all families are facing the same struggles and agony in various aspects. For these families, the pain and the memories will last long beyond this day, until they find out what happened to their loved ones.

 “As a woman, having to raise my sons all alone in our society is very challenging. My sons need a father figure. He is our house’s pillar.” – Um Allawi, the wife of Sattar who went missing in 2016.   

 Um Allawi, like several other wives and mothers, has the right to know about the fate of her loved one. The families’ harsh reality keeps spiraling, affecting them emotionally, physically, legally, financially and socially. These families are living in a limbo as they’re constantly waiting for updates, while facing enormous administrative and legal hurdles.

 The ICRC in Iraq has been engaging with the relevant authorities and stakeholders since 1991 to address issues related to missing persons. We chair a mechanism between Kuwait and Iraq and another one between Iran and Iraq with the aim to clarify the whereabouts of those who went missing during the two conflicts. Additionally, we help the families through our family links services in tracing their members who disappeared during all periods of conflict. Families of missing persons have many other needs: economic, psychological, legal and administrative, and we seek to bring our contribution to responding to those needs.  

 On this day, the ICRC calls on all actors to redouble their efforts in clarifying the fate of missing persons and responding to the needs of their families, and we remain ready to assist them in fulfilling their obligations under International Humanitarian Law. All missing persons and their families deserve to be treated equally, irrespective of the causes and circumstances of their disappearance. We share the overwhelming needs and demands of these families and we will continue to support them through our different programs with the hope of lessening their heavy burdens.


For more information, please contact:

                     Hiba Adnan, Spokesperson, ICRC Baghdad: - Mobile: +964 790 191 6927

-        Email:

 Avin Yassin, Spokesperson, ICRC Erbil: Mobile: +964 771 994 5066

-        Email:

Miriam Atallah, Communication Delegate, ICRC Baghdad: Mobile: +964 782 784 3591  

-        Email:


To learn more about the ICRC’s activities in Iraq:

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