Nepal: Nine years into the peace process, relatives still in the dark about the fate of their missing members

03 September 2015

Kathmandu (ICRC/Nepal Red Cross Society) – The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), Nepal Red Cross Society and National Network of Families of Disappeared and Missing Nepal (NEFAD) will come together to mark the 32nd International Day of the Disappeared, tomorrow 4 September 2015 in Kathmandu.

Every year August 30 is marked worldwide as International Day of the Disappeared. On this occasion the ICRC wishes to emphasize the need to do more to document and clarify the fate and whereabouts of people who have disappeared in conflicts or other circumstances and give stronger support to the families left behind on the part of governments and civil society.

"Although the fate and whereabouts of hundreds of people have been established, it is a painful fact that 1343 people are still missing in Nepal, almost nine years after the end of the conflict," said Dragana Kojic, head of the ICRC delegation in Kathmandu. "The families of the missing persons need, above all, to know what happened to their missing relatives. The right of a family to know is enshrined in international humanitarian law and human rights law and it must be respected. We strongly hope that the recently created Commission of Investigation on Enforced Disappeared Persons will respond to the families' needs and relieve their long lasting anguish, added Kojic.

The ICRC and the Nepal Red Cross Society have published the names of the missing persons since 2007 in a common list. The 8th edition of this publication, entitled: "Missing Persons in Nepal: Updated list 2015" is available, in English and Nepali, on ICRC's website

"The volunteers of Nepal Red Cross Society are in close contact with family members of missing persons and supporting them in one or the other way," said Dev Ratna Dhakhwa, the Secretary General of the Nepal Red Cross Society.

In the past five years in Nepal, the ICRC has implemented a comprehensive psychosocial accompaniment program – Hateymalo. While providing psychosocial support to the families of the missing, the ICRC, in collaboration with national non-governmental organisations and the Nepal Red Cross Society, delivers psychological, economic, legal, administrative and socio-cultural support to them. Since the beginning of the Hateymalo programme, more than 90% of the families of the missing have benefitted from this support in 43 districts.

A short film "A Life on Hold: Addressing the needs of families of the missing" will be screened during the event in Kathmandu. The film shows three people from different corners of the globe, Uganda, Mexico and Georgia, each with a unique story of a missing relative, evidencing this universal and tragic phenomenon.

Along with the members of the families of the missing, over 100 persons representing government and non-governmental agencies, security forces, civil society organizations, media and Red Cross volunteers will attend the event.

For further information, please contact:
Binod Kafle, ICRC Kathmandu, tel: +977 9851074295 or +977 1 4107285
Dibya Raj Paudel, Nepal Red Cross Society Kathmandu, tel: +977 9841699068 or +977 1 4285089