2 July 2010
The Red Cross is launching a new book and photo exhibition – Missing Lives – to highlight the challenges Balkans face in trying to account for the war-time losses of their loved ones.
Fifteen years after the war in Croatia and Bosnia – and ten years after the Kosovo conflict – more than 15,000 people still remain unaccounted for. Many families are uncertain about the fate of their loved ones and hold little hope for the recovery of their remains, and therefore the opportunity of conducting a dignified burial.
Both the Missing Lives book and London-based photo exhibition – produced in association with the British Red Cross and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) – showcase the work of award-winning British photographer Nick Danziger and acclaimed Canadian writer Rory MacLean.
They feature a series of written accounts and photographs that document, in haunting detail, the ongoing plight of 15 families across the Western Balkans who have to live without any sense of closure for their lost relatives.
Dragutin Tuskan, for example, knows that his wife and younger son were executed during the conflict. But, he says: “For 17 years I haven’t known where they are. During the day and night, I think about finding them, burying them, lighting candles for them. For these 17 years I didn’t sing, didn’t dance, nothing.”
Nev Jefferies, head of international tracing and message services, said: “This exhibition pays tribute to the missing, their families and all those who make every effort to help families put an end to the mental torture brought about by this uncertainty.”
He continued: “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 improperly disposed of. Civilians – men, women and children – can become separated from their families while fleeing the fighting. The Red Cross international tracing and message services work to re-establish contact between families who have been separated in this way.”
The exhibition will take place from 7-25 July on the Thames Pathway adjacent to London’s Oxo Tower. It will later tour nine other venues across Europe.
Learn more about the Missing Lives exhibition
More about finding missing family