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Switzerland: ICRC pledges support for missing persons and their families

04-12-2003 News Release 03/154

ICRC President Jakob Kellenberger today reaffirmed the organization's commitment to resolving the problem of people unaccounted for as a result of armed conflict or internal violence, and to assisting their families.

Not knowing what has happened to members of one’s family is a harsh reality for hundreds of thousands of people in conflict zones around the world. This uncertainty generates suffering and anger that often continue long after the fighting is over, and lasting wounds that block the path to peace and reconciliation.

By signing a formal pledge on behalf of the ICRC at the 28th International Conference of the Red Cross and Red Crescent currently under way in Geneva, Mr Kellenberger underlined the ICRC's resolve to put the problem at the top of its agenda.

In its pledge , made before the 191 States and the Red Cross and Red Crescent organizations attending the Conference, the ICRC undertook to intensify its efforts to prevent people from becoming unaccounted for, to resolve the problem when it occurs and to support the families of missing persons. The ICRC also pledged to step up co-operation with authorities and organizations, to ensure the application of common guidelines for elucidating the fate of missing persons and helping their families.
In February 2003, the ICRC brought together more than 350 representatives of States, Red Cross and Red Crescent organizations and other bodies to decide on concrete measures aimed at helping missing persons and their families.

 For further information, please contact:  

 Florian Westphal, ICRC Geneva, tel. ++41 79 217 32 26  

 Antonella Notari, ICRC Geneva, tel. ++41 79 217 32 80  

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