For immediate release 25 August
For further information Catherine Bates
Contact number 01158505954
The British Red Cross are inviting people in Leeds to come along to a special exhibition and stall in The Light in the city centre between 9.30am and 5pm on Monday 29 August to mark the International Day of the Disappeared, being held this year on 30 August.
Volunteers will give people from across Leeds the opportunity to commemorate those who have gone missing due to armed conflicts, migration or natural disaster, as well as find out about the Red Cross’ international tracing and messaging service.
A photo exhibition telling the stories of refugee who have come to the UK will be on display, there will be free ‘forget-me-not’ flower-shaped bookmarks and the chance to take part in a mapping activity to discover the diverse family backgrounds of people from Leeds.
Rosie Longley, coordinator for the Red Cross’ international tracing and messaging service (ITMS) in Leeds, said: “We’re hoping to raise awareness of the thousands of families across the world are still unaware of the fate of family members missing through conflict or natural disaster. It also an opportunity for people in Leeds to find out how the Red Cross works across the globe to put families back in touch.”
The Red Cross’international tracing and message service works through a global network to put families separated by war or disaster back in touch.
Nev Jefferies, head of international tracing and message services, said: “We traced 400 people last year, and we’re currently trying to trace the relatives of 1,252 families from countries all across 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,” he explained.
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.
At events across the country, the Red Cross will hand out ‘forget-me-not’ flower-shaped bookmarks in memory of those who are still missing.
The Red Cross has also launched a creative writing competition mark the day. The nationwide writing competition – on the theme of ‘The Disappeared’ – will take entries in various literary genres including poetry, prose, comic strips and short stories. Compositions must be original and must be submitted by 30 August.
For more information please visit redcross.org.uk/dayofthedisappeared
Notes to editors
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.