Kosovo: ICRC publishes new edition of "Book of the Missing"
29-08-2007 News Release 07/18
As part of the ongoing process to clarify the fate of people who disappeared during the conflict in Kosovo, the ICRC has today published a fourth edition of the Book of the Missing, which contains the names of 2,047 people from all communities in Kosovo reported missing by their families.
The Book of the Missing will be widely distributed in Kosovo, Serbia and other countries in the region. In Kosovo the book will be available for consultation in ICRC offices, local Red Cross branches and associations of the families of the missing. It is also accessible on the ICRC website: www.familylinks.icrc.org.
The book has been published for the families of the missing, to help them find out what happened to their relatives during the conflict. It constitutes an appeal to members of the public, to the authorities and to all those who might possess reliable information on the whereabouts of missing persons to come forward and share it. The book also acts as a reminder that for eight years now, more than two thousand families from different ethnic backgrounds have lived in uncertainty, waiting for news on the fate of their loved ones.
The right to know the what has happened to a missing loved one is a fundamental concern of international humanitarian and human rights law. That right must be respected. The authorities and parties to the former conflict are obliged by the law to provide answers. The ICRC will continue to support the stricken families in their quest to find the truth, and to approach the authorities to remind them of their responsibility to release information on the whereabouts of those unaccounted for.
A decade of armed conflicts in the Balkans in the 1990s caused thousands of people to disappear. Even today, more than 17,000 are listed by the ICRC as missing in connection to those conflicts.
This further underlines the responsibility of the authorities or former parties to the conflict to take swift action to shed light on what happened to those who disappeared in the territories under their control. Only solid answers will enable the families to achieve emotional closure regarding these violent events that disrupted their lives.
For further information, please contact:
Mr Idriz Gashi, ICRC Kosovo, tel.: +377 44 168 848