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Meeting on missing people kicks off at Dead Sea


The Jordan Times


AMMAN — A two-day meeting to discuss ways to improve the search for missing people, including victims of enforced disappearance, kicked off on Tuesday at the Dead Sea with the participation of more than 50 experts and representatives of victims from around the world.
The meeting is jointly organised by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and the Bern-based organisation Swisspeace, according to an ICRC statement.
“From our long experience, we know how much families need to know what happened to their loved ones,” Caroline Douilliez, head of the ICRC’s Missing Persons Project, was quoted in the statement as saying.
“This meeting comes at an opportune moment, given the adoption by the United Nations Security Council in June of Resolution 2474 on missing persons in armed conflict, co-sponsored by 69 States,” Douilliez said.
This April, the United Nations Committee on Enforced Disappearances adopted the Guiding Principles for the Search for Disappeared Persons.
Participants will discuss how these principles can help guide the search for people who have gone missing for reasons other than forced disappearance, the statement said.
“The Guiding Principles represent a significant step towards clarifying obligations around the search for people who have disappeared forcibly. Determining how the principles can be implemented and identifying best practices will be key to improving search procedures in different contexts,” Lisa Ott, head of Swisspeace’s Dealing with the Past programme, was quoted in the statement as saying.
“In the Middle East, the burgeoning number of missing people is the result not only of the more recent conflicts in Syria and Yemen, but also of the unsolved cases from past conflicts, such as those in Iraq, Iran, Kuwait and Lebanon,” Jürg Montani, head of the ICRC’s delegation in Jordan said in the statement.
“And their families suffer terribly. Less than a week after the International Day of the Disappeared, the Jordan meeting is a reminder that we should spare no effort to make progress on this issue for their sakes,” he added.
The ICRC Missing Persons Project is a four-year initiative to create a global community of practice and common technical standards to better tackle the issue of missing people and support their families, read the statement.
Swisspeace is a practice-oriented peace research institute. Together with a consortium of civil society organisations funded by the European Union, its Dealing with the Past programme helps the United Nations Committee on Enforced Disappearances raise awareness of their Guiding Principles and drives discussions on how to put them into practice, the statement said.

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