accessibility & help

Day of the Disappeared

20 August 2013

For further information contact:
Henry Makiwa 020 7877 7479 / 
On call mobile: 0771 0391703

The Red Cross has launched a social media campaign to commemorate people who have gone missing throughout the world in disasters, as well as situations of violence and armed conflict.

The British Red Cross is asking people to mark this year’s International Day of the Disappeared (on Friday 30 August 2013) by collectively changing their online avatars across social networks to include an empty picture frame that symbolises people who are still missing.

Emily Knox, the British Red Cross head of international family tracing, said: “Across the world, Red Cross and Red Crescent national societies are urging people to mark this special day through the Empty Frame campaign.

“We are looking to harness the power of social networks and encouraging people to share, tweet and engage in discussions on digital media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and other social networks,” she added.

Pictures of the Empty Frame are available online on the website, where a ‘social media toolkit’ of downloadable avatars for Facebook, Twitter and other social networks can be found.

The International Day of the Disappeared on 30 August is a United Nations-recognised annual commemoration day for individuals who have gone missing in armed conflicts or other situations of violence and whose fate is unresolved.

Emily said: “Last year the British Red Cross traced and found 240 people from countries all around the world, including Afghanistan, Eritrea and Somalia.

“While it’s hard to imagine what another year of waiting for news and resolution means to the families of the disappeared, this is a time for the Red Cross to show solidarity with them.”

At events across the country, the charity will mark the day with a variety of activities. Selected British Red Cross charity shops across the UK will display a conceptual 'postcard' that shows a family sitting beside a semi-transparent father figure. The image suggests how it might feel to live with the uncertainty of having a missing relative. Giant versions of the postcard will also be displayed at nine cities throughout the UK, including Liverpool, Bristol and Glasgow.

Meanwhile the British Red Cross has announced the winners of its literary competition whose theme this year was “Found”.
Louise Hird won the adult competition with her short story, Sophia, while Harriet Gilbraith’s poem – There, Here, Run – came first in the junior category.

All entries including stories, poems or personal accounts were required to be no more than 500 words. There are two categories: adult and young persons aged 16 or under.
The winning entry in each category will receive a £100 Amazon gift voucher. Two runners-up in each category will each receive a £50 Amazon gift voucher.


Notes to editors
• The 30th of August marks the International Day of the Disappeared. It's the day when we draw attention to the fate of people missing and lives of their families who cope with the uncertainty of not knowing whether their loved ones are alive or dead. Some families live in uncertainty for decades. Our thoughts are with them. Show your support by making this "empty frame" your profile picture on Facebook and elsewhere.
• For interviews, photography, case studies or more information, please contact Henry Makiwa on 02078777479 or 07877499038
• The British Red Cross giant postcard will be displayed in eight cities and at four Red Cross shops in the week leading up to Day of the Disappeared itself (30 August).
• To read the winning entries of the Found competition, please click here.
• 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.
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