Azerbaijan: a step towards bringing answers to the families of missing people
30-07-2009 News Release 09/148
BAKU (ICRC) – The first phase of a nationwide effort to collect and centralize data on missing persons in connection with the Nagorny Karabakh conflict has been completed.
As at 30 June 2009, 1,151 detailed data collection (DDC) questionnaires had been filled in by twenty specially trained volunteers of the Azerbaijan Red Crescent Society (AzRCS) who interviewed the families concerned. The questionnaires contain extensive information on the physical appearance of those who went missing and on the circumstances surrounding their disappearance.
" The first phase of the DDC process in Azerbaijan is officially over. However, we were unable to locate 290 families of missing people registered with ICRC as living in Baku, Sumgayit and Absheron district but who moved in the meantime, says Jelena Milosevic Lepotic, ICRC tracing delegate in Baku. The ICRC is calling on those families to contact the nearest office of the ICRC or the AzRCS, so as to enable the successful collection of information. " A hotline (+99 412 493 16 38) has been set up for this purpose.
The DDC questionnaires will be handed over to the State Commission for Prisoners of War, Missing Persons and Hostages of Azerbaijan, which will centralize all information in a single database, thus facilitating future investigations into the fate of the missing persons. However, the collection work is not finished yet. Currently under way in 18 districts and towns along the frontline, it will be extended to the remaining 35 districts and towns of Azerbaijan next year. The ICRC foresees to complete the collection of data in all parts of the country by the end of 2010.
" Collecting detailed information about missing persons can cause old wounds to open again. However, the families take comfort in knowing that their missing loved ones have not been forgotten. We hope that the data we are now collecting will lead to answers that will eventually help heal those wounds " , says Mrs Milosevic Lepotic.
On 14 April 2008, the State Commission and the ICRC signed the Framework Agreement on the Collection and Centralized Management of Detailed Data on Missing Persons in relation to the Nagorny Karabakh conflict. A few weeks later, volunteers from the Red Cross started to collect data.For further information, please contact:
Gulnaz Guliyeva, ICRC Baku, tel: + 99 412 440 62 22
Claire Kaplun, ICRC Geneva, tel: +41 79 244 64 26
ICRC Geneva, tel: +41 22 730 34 43