Families of missing facing economic, legal issues says ICRC

living-with-uncertainty-thumbnailAn island-wide assessment conducted by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) has found that families of missing persons have many needs, years after the end of the conflict.

The survey found that these families primarily want to know the fate and whereabouts of their missing relative and that they also face economic, legal and administrative difficulties in their daily lives.

The aim of the assessment was to understand the needs of families of persons who went missing as a consequence of the past armed conflict and to identify solutions to help address these needs.  Between October 2014 and November 2015, the ICRC met with 395 families of missing persons, including those of missing security forces and police personnel, in all 25 districts of the country. The findings of the assessment and recommendations were presented to the Government.

“We believe these findings and recommendations can contribute to the development of a comprehensive response to the needs of all families of missing persons”, said Claire Meytraud, Head of the ICRC delegation in Sri Lanka.

The findings of the assessment led the ICRC to design what it calls the Accompaniment programme with the aim of meeting some of the many needs these families have.  In 2015, a pilot phase of this programme was launched in selected districts in partnership with local organizations.  Currently, 850 families are benefitting from the programme which will be expanded to other districts soon. The ICRC expects to share the lessons learnt from the pilot phase with the authorities next year.

Hundreds have been reported missing during the 30 year war between the LTTE and the military which ended in 2009 with the defeat of the rebels. (Colombo Gazette)

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