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The Missing Conference - Daily bulletin no 1


The International Conference of governmental and non-governmental experts opens today at the International Conference Centre in Geneva.


 What does IHL say about the missing?  

Additional protocol1, art 32

" Families have the right to know the fate of their relatives "

Additional protocol1 , art 33

" Each Party to the conflict shall search for the persons who have been reported missing by an adverse party "

FOURTH Geneva Convention, art 26

" Ech Party to the conflict shall facilitate enquiries made by members of families dispersed owing to the war; with the objectof renewing contact with one another and of meeting, if possible. It shall encourage, in particular , the work of organisations engagedin thes task provided thy are acceptable to it and confirm to security regulations "


 More than 350 experts attend  

ICRC/T. Gassmann / Ref:CER-E-00029Panel    

More than 350 experts from governments and non-governmental organizations, together with representatives of humanitarian organizations, are meeting in Geneva from 19-21 February to discuss the problem of people missing as a result of armed conflict or internal violence. Some 90 countries are represented in all. National Red Cross and Red Crescent societies as well as associations representing the families of the missing are also attending the conference, which is organized by the International Committee of the Red Cross.

 Why a conference on the missing?  

Tens of thousands of people have gone missing as a result of armed conflict or internal violence, a harsh reality faced by countless families around the world.

There is an urgent need to take action to prevent this.

Methods currently in use to deal with the problem are far from satisfactory.

The ICRC organized this conference to find ways to resolve the serious humanitarian problem of missing people.

It hopes that the final outcome of the conference will also improve the situation of thousands of people who have no news of their missing relatives.

 What does the ICRC want from the conference?  

  • a more effective response to the needs of families which have lost contact with a loved one

  • an acceptance of common practices among all those who are involved in the search for missing people

  • the issue as a priority on the agendas of governments, the United Nations and NGOs

  • the identification of more effective mechanisms and procedures aimed at producing concrete and lasting results quickly

  • reinforce international and national law in order to prevent the disappearances

 The agenda for 19 February  


08.00 – 10.00 Registration of participants

10.00 – 12.30 Plenary: opening speeches

14.00 – 18.30 Plenary: general debate

16.30 – 18.30 Working group on the final document

19.00 – 21.00 Reception hosted by the ICRC

 Press questions?  



Antonella Notari, head of press - 079 217 3280

Florian Westphal, press officer - 079 217 3226

 For more information on   the missing  This daily bulletin is for information purposes only and is not an official document of the conference. It will be available to participants each morning and on the ICRC web site . It is also available to the media, ICRC delegations worldwide and national Red Cross and Red Crescent societies.


Ian Piper, ICRC (English)

Jette Soerensen, ICRC (French)

Editor: Antonella Notari

Photos: Thierry Gassman, ICRC

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