The Central Tracing Agency 150th anniversary: Transforming the global response for missing persons
For the 150th anniversary of the Central Tracing Agency, one of the oldest institutions whose existence is enshrined in the Geneva Conventions, the ICRC is co-organising with the Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs, an online high-level event.
For those who are interested to watch the event again, you can find here the link to the video
Join Minister of Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs Ignazio Cassis and ICRC President Peter Maurer in the event filled with interviews, discussions and images looking back at the Central Tracing Agency's experience.
We will together explore innovative ways to restore family links and to transform the global effort to prevent and respond to missing persons and their families in armed conflict, other situations of violence, migration, disasters and emergencies.
This page will be regularly updated with videos, stories and interesting information – we invite you to come back on it.
- Mr. Ignazio Cassis, Vice-President of the Federal Council and Head of the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (FDFA), Switzerland.
- Mr. Peter Maurer, President, International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).
- Mr. António Vitorino, Director-General, International Organization for Migration (IOM).
- Mr. Federico Villegas, Ambassador of the Argentine Republic in Geneva.
- Mr. Heo Wookgu, Director, Ministry of National Defense Agency for KIA Recovery & Identification (MAKRI), Republic of Korea.
- Ms. Nadia Isler, Director, SDG Lab.
- Mr. Jagan Chapagain, Secretary-General, International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC).
- Ms. Asha Mohammed Abdulrahim, Secretary-General, Kenyan Red Cross Society (KRCS).
- Mr. Filippo Grandi, High Commissioner for Refugees, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).
- Mr. Rabea Al-Adsani, Ambassador and Head of the Committee for Prisoners' of War and Missing Affairs, Ministry of foreign affairs - The State of Kuwait.
- Ms. Michelle Bachelet, High Commissioner for Human Rights, Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR).
- Ms. Livia Leu, State Secretary, Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (FDFA), Switzerland.
At the end of the event, a live question-and-answer session will take place with the following ICRC experts:
- Ms. Helen Durham, Director of International Law and Policy
- Mr. Dominik Stillhart, Director of Operations
- Mr. Balthasar Staehelin, Director Digital Transformation and Data
Global Alliance for the Missing
States who are interested in contributing to efforts to provide a humanitarian response to the Missing and their families can join the alliance by sending a message to: gva_cta_office_Mailbox@icrc.org
About the CTA:
The Central Tracing Agency is one of the ICRC's oldest institutions enshrined in the Geneva Conventions.
Founded as the Basel Agency during the Franco-Prussian war in 1870 with the task of providing information on captured soldiers to their families, the Central Tracing Agency is today at the heart of the ICRC's efforts around the globe to protect and restore family links, to search and identify missing persons, to protect the dignity of the dead, and to ensure that the needs of their families are provided for.
In 150 years, the world has changed. Conflicts have evolved, and the Central Tracing Agency has adapted with it. It has embraced innovation, digital and organizational challenges, against the background of an ever-growing number of persons going missing in contexts of armed conflict and other humanitarian emergencies.
Today, the work of the Central Tracing Agency is as relevant as ever.
It carries out activities in more than 70 countries and territories in close cooperation with National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies and helps States to:
- Prevent disappearances - by registering vulnerable groups including people deprived of their liberty, promoting the creation of National Information Bureaux to centralize information on protected persons during armed conflict, promoting the use of identification tags among armed forces, and providing training in the dignified management of human remains.
- Clarify the fate and whereabouts of missing persons - through activities to trace missing persons and restore family links, supporting and chairing national and coordination mechanisms for the search for missing persons, managing and protecting information, and advising on search processes ranging from locating and securing grave sites to the recovery, analysis, identification and return to their families of human remains.
- Respond to the multifaceted needs of families of missing persons - by providing psychological, psychosocial, legal, administrative and economic support to families of missing persons and their communities.
Be part of the conversation. Help us shape the Central Tracing Agency's future.
The event is in English only.
Should you have any question, please send an email to: