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Photo exhibition on Missing Persons opens in Baku

31-08-2007 News Release 07/20

On the occasion of the International Day of Disappeared (30 August), the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) is commemorating this special day with the opening of the Regional Photo Exhibition on the Problem of Missing Persons.

It is featuring more than 50 photos of families of persons unaccounted for in conflict areas throughout the world, including those who have a missing loved one in relation to the Nagorny Karabakh conflict. The exhibition is taking place in the Union of Theatre Employees from 30 August to 7 September 2007.

" The exhibition " Help Clarify Their Fate! " is aimed at heightening awareness among authorities, military, general public, international and national organizations, including the Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement, about the tragedy of people who disappear during armed conflict or internal violence, and about the anguish of their families, " said Susana Lopez, protection coordinator of the ICRC delegation in Azerbaijan.

The ICRC regrets that one of the most serious humanitarian problems caused by armed conflict – the fate of missing persons and the suffering of their families – still remains. In its missions throughout the world, the ICRC is currently handling tens of thousands of cases of families who have no news of their missing relatives. More comprehensive information is available in the recently issued publication " Missing persons: a hidden tragedy " .

Thirteen years after the cease-fire in the Nagorny Karabakh conflict, thousands families are still uncertain about the fate of their loved ones. Since 1992, the ICRC has been keeping up its efforts to help the authorities fulfill their obligations under internation al humanitarian law and to support the families of the missing in their right to know the fate of their relatives.

The ICRC continues to actively open tracing requests from the families of missing persons: in 2007, the ICRC has opened 160 new tracing requests and this number increases day by day. To date, this list, which includes names of military and civilians, contains 4,342 identities. The ICRC works in close cooperation with the State Commission on Prisoners of War, Hostages, and Missing Persons of Azerbaijan in an attempt to consolidate a common list with a strictly humanitarian purpose.

In the future, the ICRC together with the Azerbaijan Red Crescent Society is planning to step up this activity by starting the Collection of Detailed Data on Missing Persons that is aimed at help the relevant authorities bring answers to the families of missing persons. In this respect, the Government of Azerbaijan has shown its commitment to work towards solving this painful issue.

For further information, please contact:
  Ms Gulnaz Guliyeva, ICRC Baku Tel: +(994 12) 465 63 34 or 465 64 52