Tripoli, 28 August:
This Thursday, 30 August, is expected by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) to be marked in Libya by . . .[restrict]the many families still without news of relatives who disappeared during the Qaddafi era or last year’s revolution. The ICRC has designated it as “International Day of the Disappeared”.
The IRCC says it hopes the event will raise awareness of families throughout the world that endure painful uncertainty as they await news of missing relatives, and of the obligation of governments, under international law, to do everything in their power to investigate cases of missing persons.
In Libya, where large numbers of people have gone missing, including many who may have been arrested or died during the revolution, thousands of families still do not know what became of their relatives. “Providing them with information on the fate of their loved ones is not only a legal obligation, it’s a matter of humanity”, said Laurent Saugy, who coordinates the ICRC’s missing persons work in Libya.
“The scars that war leaves on relatives of missing persons and their communities are deep”, said Marianne Pecassou, who heads the activities carried out by the ICRC for the families of missing persons. “People who don’t know whether those who have vanished are alive or dead are leading lives of uncertainty. In some cases, they have been waiting for decades, and it often happens that they suffer from emotional and social isolation. Sometimes, they’re even shunned as bearers of bad luck, and women can be stigmatized because they are left without the protection of a male family member.”