Families of the Missing and Disappeared Have the Right to Truth, Justice and Reparations

Artwork created by families of the missing for an exhibition organized by the Judy Organization for Relief and Development (JORD). The paintings are courtesy of JORD.

The Hague, 30 August 2022: – Accounting for missing persons is a central and indispensable element in efforts by countries and regions around the world to recover from conflict, disasters and other traumatic events, Kathryne Bomberger, the Director-General of the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP), said today.

Speaking on the occasion of the International Day of the Disappeared, Ms Bomberger noted that, throughout the world, authorities are bound by domestic law and international agreements, including the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance, to fulfill obligations towards families of the missing.

To mark the International Day of the Disappeared, ICMP has published a Guide for Families of the Missing, which explains in detail the rights of families, including the right to the truth about the fate and whereabouts of family members, the right to an effective and official investigation, the right to seek, receive and impart Information, the right to form associations and communicate with international organizations, the right to family life (children have the right not to be separated from their relatives against their will), the right to effective access to justice and adequate reparations, the right to manage and control personal information, and the right not to be discriminated against on any grounds, including gender, religion, ethnicity, or political affiliation.

“Accounting for the missing is not an optional extra to be addressed when ‘more pressing’ matters have been attended to,” Ms Bomberger said today. “It is central to the broader effort to uphold justice and truth. As long as large number of persons are missing, societies cannot recover from trauma. When the authorities work with families to establish the truth where persons have disappeared as a result of crime, to bring perpetrators to justice, societies can move forward.”

The full text of the Guide for Families of the Missing published by ICMP today can be read in Arabic HERE and in English HERE. The Guide for Families of the Missing was produced with the financial support of the European Union.

ICMP is a treaty-based intergovernmental organization that seeks to ensure the cooperation of governments and others in locating missing persons from conflict, human rights abuses, disasters, organized crime, migration, and other causes, and to assist them in doing so. ICMP also supports the work of other organizations in their efforts, encourages public involvement in its activities and contributes to the development of appropriate expressions of commemoration and tribute to the missing.