Wednesday 7 July 2010
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London (ICRC) – Fifteen years on from the wars in Croatia and Bosnia and 10 years after the end of the conflict in Kosovo, almost 15,000 people remain unaccounted for, and the families left behind are still suffering. The Missing Lives photo exhibition and book, documenting the plight of 15 such families, has been launched today by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) in partnership with the British Red Cross.
Missing Lives pays tribute to the missing and their families. It is also designed to induce governments to do more to prevail upon the authorities in the Balkans to fulfil their responsibility to search for people still missing.
"It is unacceptable that thousands of people continue to be haunted by the unknown fate of their loved ones," said Paul-Henri Arni, the ICRC project coordinator based in the Balkans. "Governments in this region still have to search through their wartime archives and come up with the information needed to find the mortal remains of those who went missing in order to hand them over to their families. Solving more cases of missing persons would certainly promote reconciliation and political stability in the Balkans."
The high-profile book and outdoor photo exhibition showcase the work of award-winning British photographer Nick Danziger and acclaimed Canadian author Rory MacLean. The exhibition will open to the public tomorrow on the Riverside Walkway, South Bank, adjacent to the Oxo Tower. After the run in London closes, on 25 July , the exhibition will travel to 10 cities in the Balkans, Western Europe and North America.
According to Nev Jefferies, the head of international tracing and message services at the British Red Cross, "during armed conflicts, people can go missing in many ways. Civilians can be abducted and imprisoned, soldiers and combatants might be killed and their bodies buried without a trace. Civilians – men, women and children – can become separated from their families while fleeing the fighting. The Red Cross works across the world to re-establish contact between separated family members and to determine the fate of the missing."
In Serbia, Bosnia-Herzegovina and neighbouring countries affected by the conflicts of the 1990s, the ICRC maintains its support for the families of the almost 15,000 people who are still listed as having disappeared during the hostilities. In addition, it collects information on missing persons and, together with the authorities, sets up mechanisms with the aim of obtaining more such information and sharing it with the families.
Notes to editors
- For interviews, photography or more information contact Angela Hoyt (firstname.lastname@example.org , 07710 733 148) or Simone Bresi-Ando (SBresi-Ando@redcross.org.uk, 020 7877 7045)
- The Missing Lives book was published by Dewi Lewis Publishing and is on sale at Amazon.co.uk
- The Missing Lives runs for three weeks from the 7th till the 24th of July 2010 on the Riverside walkway (by Gabriel's Wharf) South Bank London SE1 9PP
- For more information about the Red Cross ITMS service, please visit: http://www.redcross.org.uk/trace
Who: British photographer Nick Danziger has travelled the world taking photographs and making documentary films, and has become one of the world’s most renowned photojournalists. His photographs have appeared in newspapers and magazines worldwide, toured museums and galleries internationally, and are held in numerous museum collections.
Who: Canadian author Rory MacLean seven books, including UK best-sellers Stalin¹s Nose and Under the Dragon, have challenged and invigorated travel writing. During his research journeys, MacLean walked through the newly-opened Berlin Wall, met Aung San Suu Kyi in Rangoon and interviewed Pashtun elders at the Kacha Garhi refugee camp after the destruction of the World Trade Centre.
Who: Paul-Henri Arni is Head of the International Committee of the Red Cross' Regional Delegation for the Balkans. Mr Arni has been responsible for managing the ICRC operations in the former conflict area since 2007. The main focus is on the 15,200 people still listed as missing since the conflict in the former Yugoslavia. The organization works to help clarify the fate of people who went missing in connection with the conflict and supports associations that help people handle the legal problems arising from the absence of their relatives.
The British Red Cross helps people in crisis, whoever and wherever they are. We are part of a global voluntary network, responding to conflicts, natural disasters and individual emergencies. We enable vulnerable people in the UK and abroad to prepare for and withstand emergencies in their own communities. And when the crisis is over, we help them to recover and move on with their lives.