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Nepal: families of the missing still torn between hope and despair

29-08-2011 News Release 11/177

Kathmandu (ICRC/Nepal Red Cross Society) – In the run-up to International Day of the Disappeared on 30 August, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and the Nepal Red Cross Society today published the names of 1,383 people who went missing during Nepal's 10-year internal armed conflict (1996-2006).

"The primary aim of publishing these names is to acknowledge the suffering of 1,383 families in Nepal and to draw attention to their need to find out what happened to their missing relatives," said Laure Schneeberger, the deputy head of the ICRC delegation in Kathmandu. "It has become urgent that the authorities in Nepal create a mechanism that will provide answers for the families of missing persons so they can get on with their lives and begin the process of mourning and reconciliation."

Torn between hope and despair, the families struggle on a daily basis with the ambiguity of their loss and a host of other problems.

Under international humanitarian law, the authorities are required to take all feasible measures to account for people who went missing, and to give families all the information they obtain.

The publication, entitled "Missing persons in Nepal: the right to know," is the fourth of its kind since 2007 and provides an updated list of persons still missing.

The ICRC and the Nepal Red Cross work closely with several other organizations and with the Ministry of Peace and Reconstruction to meet the economic, psychological, social and legal needs of thousands of relatives of missing persons.

"We hope that this publication will also help ensure that all families of missing persons can benefit from government programmes supporting the victims of conflict," said Sanjeev Thapa, the chairperson of the Nepal Red Cross Society.

"Missing persons in Nepal: the right to know" can be consulted on the ICRC and Nepal Red Cross websites. Hard copies are available in Nepal Red Cross offices and in ICRC offices in Nepal.

For further information, please contact:
Krishna Chalisey, ICRC Kathmandu, tel: +977 1 4107157 / 4107279 or +977 1 9851000602
Christian Cardon, ICRC Geneva, tel: +41 22 730 24 26 or +41 79 251 93 02
Indra Adhikari, Nepal Red Cross Society Kalimati, tel: +977 1 4285089 or +977 9851086198