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Lebanon: Families of missing still struggle with uncertainty

20-06-2013 News Release

Beirut (ICRC) – The needs of the families of people who have gone missing in connection with armed conflict in Lebanon since 1975 remain largely unmet, according to the findings of a report by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) presented today to family associations and non-governmental organizations.

"Thousands of families of missing people have had their lives put on hold for decades," said Bénédicte L'Eplattenier, the ICRC delegate in charge of issues relating to missing persons in Lebanon.

"They have received little support, suffered in silence and waited for news that never came," she said. "Even many years after the disappearance, what families require primarily and most urgently is to know what happened to their missing relatives." Other administrative, economic, social and psychological needs were also highlighted in the report.

In the absence of official figures or comprehensive lists of those who vanished, the report attempts to determine the consequences of the disappearance of a loved one on the families' daily lives through interviews with more than 300 families from all parts of the country.

"It took great courage for the families to speak about their missing relatives and share their problems with us. We would like to warmly thank each of them for their trust. This report is also a tribute to them all," said Ms L'Eplattenier. "Not only do the families have a right to be informed of the fate of missing relatives, but the failure to obtain that information also denies them any chance of putting an end to their anguish."

The ICRC is hopeful that the recommendations made in the report will help the Lebanese authorities and civil society organizations to set priorities and endeavour to meet the needs of families in a consistent and coordinated manner


For further information, please contact:
Samar el Kadi, ICRC Beirut, tel. +961 70 153 928
Basma Tabaja, ICRC Beirut, tel. +961 70 163 462