To be organized by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), the conference will bring close to 30 senior forensic specialists and policymakers from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, India, Indonesia, Nepal, Pakistan, Timor Leste, Viet Nam and Sri Lanka to Colombo.
The participants are associated with regional disaster management agencies, Red Cross and Red Crescent societies and other organizations working in this field. They will discuss mechanisms to strengthen medico legal systems because these play a key role in identifying victims, the needs of families and relatives of disaster victims and the requirements of teams involved in response activities.
The aim of the conference is to identify ways to continue to develop policies and strategies for the management of the dead in emergencies.
“In Asia, thousands of people die or go missing during disasters, both natural and man-made. Their families suffer terribly due to the uncertainty about what has happened to their loved ones,” said Gerard Peytrignet, ICRC’s head of delegation in Sri Lanka.
“People who are unable to restore contact or trace the missing relatives live in an emotional limbo, not sure whether a parent or a sibling or a child is dead or alive. This uncertainty often prevents them from mourning properly or resuming their life, until they know what has happened to their loved one.” Dignified and proper management of the dead in disasters is fundamental to helping families establish the whereabouts of their relatives and mourn their death.
The first regional conference was held in Sri Lanka in 2016, followed by Nepal in 2017.