Kathmandu, August 29

On the occasion of International Day of the Disappeared 2016, International Committee of the Red Cross and Nepal Red Cross Society today made public the updated list of the disappeared.

The list puts the number of disappeared persons in Nepal so far at 1,334.

The updated list of 1,334 missing persons is contained in the 9th edition of a publication titled Missing Persons in Nepal: Update list 2016.

Every year on August 30, the International Committee of the Red Cross and Nepal Red Cross Society celebrate the International Day of the Disappeared by publishing an updated name list of people who went missing during Nepal’s 10-year internal armed conflict (1996-2006).

Though the real date of the International Day of the Disappeared is August 30, this year, ICRC and NRCS launched the updated list of disappeared persons a day before.

The first edition of the list of missing persons was published in 2007.

At the programme, a photo-book called Commemorating the Missing was also launched. The book documents the commemoration by families of the missing in Nepal and their loss within the framework of a comprehensive ICRC psychosocial programme called Hatemalo.

After launching the list and photo-book, Andre Paquet, ICRC head of Nepal said, “We hope that the Commission of Investigation on Enforced Disappeared Persons and the Truth and Reconciliation Commission will invest every effort to give the victims and the families the long-awaited answers on the fate of their loved ones as provided for in International Humanitarian Law and address other needs they express.”

A total of 2,870 claims of disappeared persons have been recorded at the Truth and Reconciliation Commission so far.

Similarly, Chairperson of the Commission for Investigation on Enforced Disappeared Persons (CIEDP) Lokendra Mallick said there are lots of hurdles to speeding up works under the commission due to lack of proper legal mechanism .

At the programme, the victim families and guardians expressed anger and frustration over the incumbent government and Prime Minister Puspa Kamal Dahal, who they accused of being the main instructor of the war and held him responsible for destruction of thousands of families and disappeared persons.

The President of National Network of Families of Disappeared and Missing in Nepal (NEFAD), Ram Kumar Bhandari, accused the Commission of Investigation on Enforced Disappeared Persons of not prioritising victims’ families.

“The commission and all the government sectors have totally disrespected us so far” he said, “Not only that, the culprits of the war and security persons all are either in power or in the commission, so how can we get justice?”

During and after the 10-years armed conflict in Nepal from 1996 to 2006, ambiguity about the fate of a relative is a harsh reality for countless persons.

Not knowing whether their relatives are alive or dead, families and communities have been unable to put the violence of the past behind them.

Years after the end of the conflict, their anguish continues, hindering their ability to move on to rehabilitation and reconciliation, either as individuals or as communities.