International Day of the Disappeared: Why it matters

30 August 2016
International Day of the Disappeared: Why it matters
CC BY-NC-ND / ICRC / Daniele Volpe

Anyone can understand the grief and desolation felt when a loved one dies. But what about the crushing hurt and uncertainty when somebody just disappears? Hundreds of thousands of people are currently missing around the world from armed conflicts, violence, natural disasters, or migration.

The ICRC does what it can to help. But it is vital that governments and others step up their efforts to relieve the suffering of so many people and to address one of the most complex, challenging and under-reported humanitarian problems in the world today. The attached brief report gives an overview of the situation of the missing around the world and what ICRC is doing to help.

The ICRC works in over 60 countries to help missing people and their families

How the ICRC made a difference in 2015:

  • 1,000 children were reunited with their families
  • 3,650 families with missing loved ones were provided with psychological and psychosocial support in 21 countries
  • 479,000 family members were able to re-establish contact through free phone calls
  • 25,700 detainees were visited and monitored individually
  • delivered humanitarian forensic services in 53 countries around the world
  • 19 States were supported in the development of national laws and measures related to missing persons and their families


In Brief - International Day of the Disappeared: Why it matters