Govt urged to provide info about missing persons

  • International Day of the Disappeared

Kathmandu, August 29

The International Committee of the Red Cross, Nepal Red Cross Society and Nepal Society of Families of the Disappeared and Missing observed the International Day of the Disappeared amid a function organised here today.

This year’s event included a theatre performance titled ‘The Waiting Eyes’ and the unveiling of the publication called ‘Missing Persons in Nepal: Updated list 2018’. An interactive session dedicated to the members of the families of missing persons in Nepal was also held. The 20-minute theatre performance focused on the difficulties, struggle and the needs of the families of missing persons through a representative family.

Likewise, the ‘Missing Persons in Nepal: Updated list 2018’ is a joint publication of the ICRC and NRCS and contains updated list of 1,333 people, who are still missing in connection with the decade-long (1996-2006) internal armed conflict in Nepal. This list is being published annually since 2007.

As per ICRC records, 3,248 missing persons were reported to the ICRC and NRCS since the beginning of the conflict. Overtime, the list has reduced and the present publication contains 1,333 persons who are still missing since the conflict.

The aim of this publication is to bring public recognition on the missing persons in Nepal as a result of the conflict. It also constitutes an appeal to the government of Nepal to clarify the fate and, whenever possible, the whereabouts of the missing persons.

Family members of missing persons, along with government officials, non-governmental agencies, security forces, civil society organisations, mediapersons and Red Cross movement members attended the programme.

André Paquet, head of ICRC mission in Nepal, said, “We strongly hope that the Commission of Investigation on Enforced Disappeared Persons and the Truth and Reconciliation Commission will make every effort to give the victims and the families some long-awaited answers”. He said that the conflict in Nepal ended 12 years ago and the country was moving towards stability. “However, stability has a bitter taste for the conflict victims as the transitional justice process has yet to reach a proper closure,” he said.

According to Paquet, the International Humanitarian Law requires that authorities take all feasible measures to account for the missing persons. In that respect, the states are obliged to do everything possible to provide families with answers on the fate of their loved ones. The ICRC knows by experience that missing a close relative represents one of the biggest humanitarian needs one can face. Not knowing what happened to a disappeared father, mother, brother, sister, a son or a daughter is simply a continuous nightmare.

People have the right to know what has happened to their missing relatives. The ICRC reminded all the stakeholders, including the Government of Nepal, of their obligation to provide information to the families.