This World Mental Health Day, we would like to shed light on the immense suffering of people who are still looking for loved ones who went missing in the 2017 Marawi conflict.
Not knowing the fate and whereabouts of their loved ones, these families continue to live in uncertainty. They are unable to move on and find closure to this day. The grieving process cannot start nor be completed.
Under international humanitarian law, the families have the right to know the fate of their loved ones. Authorities bear the ultimate responsibility to prevent disappearances, and after the end of hostilities, to account for persons who went missing during the conflict.
By virtue of our neutral, impartial and independent mandate, we support efforts to give these families answers. We have been working in dozens of countries to assist in tracing thousands of persons who went missing in relation to conflict, to help end the suffering of their families.
"The missing persons of Marawi must not be forgotten. We encourage these families to come forward and reach out to neutral and independent organizations like the Red Cross. We will exert efforts to work with these families, and with the authorities, to clarify the fate of the missing people in Marawi," said Zita Crener, head of the ICRC's Protection team in the Philippines.
We have dedicated hotlines so families of missing people in Marawi can reach out to us:
We will respond to inquiries without delay, and will ensure that any information remains confidential, should families wish so.
We also continue to work on the Management of the Dead with relevant authorities involved to provide technical support needed to ensure a proper handling of unidentified remains, so as to increase chances of identification.