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Nepal: over 1,400 people still unaccounted for

Nepal: over 1,400 people still unaccounted for

Kathmandu, 30 August 2012 – On 30 August, the International Day of the Disappeared, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and the Nepal Red Cross Society published the names of 1,401 people who went missing during Nepal's 10-year internal armed conflict (1996-2006). The publication, which is the fifth of its kind since 2007, is entitled "Missing persons in Nepal: updated list 2012." It was presented by family members of some of the missing at an event bringing together representatives of the Nepal Society of Families of the Disappeared and Missing (NEFAD), the government, human rights organizations, and the media, among others.

"The primary aim of publishing these names is to acknowledge the suffering of 1,401 families in Nepal who are still anxious to know what happened to their loved ones," said Sylvie Thoral, the head of the ICRC delegation in Kathmandu. "The government has made a concerted effort to provide relief and support for the families of missing persons, but more needs to be done to clarify their fate and whereabouts."

"We express our solidarity with all family members still looking for their relatives," said Dev Ratna Dhakhwa, the secretary-general of the Nepal Red Cross Society. "We are hopeful that this publication will serve as an appeal to the authorities to take further concrete steps to meet the needs of the families of missing persons."

In the absence of any legal acknowledgement of the special status of missing persons, the families face difficulties on a daily basis and struggle to cope with the various administrative and legal procedures they need to fulfil to carry on with their lives. "Families of missing persons still do not have the legal standing they need to resolve bureaucratic and legal issues such as those relating to the transfer of property," said Ms Thoral.

Under international humanitarian law, the authorities are required to take all feasible measures to account for people who have gone missing, and to give families all the information in their possession. Only that will put an end to the terrible anguish of uncertainty, and enable the families to mourn the loss of their loved ones and get on with their lives.

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.

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