Authorities Must Help to Account for Those Who Are Still Missing

Activists in towns and cities across Bosnia and Herzegovina organized street events today to highlight the issue of missing persons. In addition to Sarajevo, Prijedor, Ilijas, Vogosca, Travnik, Srebrenica, Bijeljina, Ozren, Mostar and Brcko, related events were organized in Belgrade, Zagreb, Pakrac, and Pristina.

ICMP in cooperation with the Network for Building Peace and the Association for Social Research and Communication presented a “living sculpture” in the center of Sarajevo. This comprised installations designed by family members of the missing to represent their loves ones. The event highlighted key messages related to the missing persons issue:

• Demand truth and justice
• This concerns you too
• Report mass grave sites

– More than 30,000 people were missing in Bosnia and Herzegovina at the end of the war
– 70 percent of the missing have been accounted for
– We are still looking for more than 8,000 of our fellow citizens

Members of the public were invited to sign a petition calling on the authorities to maintain the effort to locate and identify those who are still missing.

Activists stressed that with 8,000 victims still unaccounted, it is essential that everything possible is done to continue the search for those who are still missing. This includes implementing the Law on Missing Persons and establishing a Fund for the support of families of the missing.

Today’s events were organized as part of a global action to mark 30 August, the International Day of the Disappeared,  a global commemoration designed to raise public awareness about the issue of missing persons from armed conflict and human rights abuses.

Established in 1996 to help the relevant authorities account for the 40,000 people reported missing at the end of the conflict in former Yugoslavia, ICMP has led an effort that has resulted in more than 70 percent of these missing persons being accounted for. This is an achievement unsurpassed anywhere.

Since 2003 ICMP has been active beyond the Western Balkans, and today it is working to develop institutions and civil society capacity, promote legislation, foster social and political advocacy, and develop and provide technical expertise to locate and identify the missing in every part of the world.