28 August 2008: The Parliamentary Assembly of Bosnia and Herzegovina will mark the International Day of the Disappeared on 29th August by organizing a special parliamentary session to commemorate the day and to push for the implementation of the Law on the Missing and the creation of a fund for families of the missing from the conflicts of the 1990’s. The session will be the highlight of a series of events held across the country, aimed at building public awareness of the universal nature of the problem of missing persons in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
The Missing Persons Institute (MPI) of Bosnia and Herzegovina, along with the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) is organizing a campaign called “I have the right to know,’ which provides a special opportunity to raise the profile of the issue of missing persons as a problem across society. It will ensure the inclusion of a broad range of civil society groups in these activities.
The special parliamentary session will not only see members of the Bosnian Parliament actively involved in the problem of missing person, but will give an opportunity to family members of the missing to put questions to their political representatives in an open forum. To mark the day a special grey commemorative ribbon will be given out which will be worn across the country to raise awareness.
Mr. Sadik Ahmetovic, the Chairman of the Joint Committee on Human Rights, Rights of the Child, Youth, Immigration, Refugees, Asylum and Ethics of the Parliamentary Assembly of Bosnia and Herzegovina will open the session and give an introductory speech.
TV and radio stations, along with national newspapers, have offered promotional coverage, Alma Ras has designed and produced the special grey ribbon, and the Red Cross Society of BiH distributed the ribbons throughout BiH. Wide range of national and international politicians and diplomats will be attending the parliamentary session. An art exhibition will also be held in the lobby of the parliament building.
An estimated 30,000 people went missing as a result of the conflicts in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Of that number approximately 17,000 have been found and identified; however, some 13,000 people are still unaccounted for. Their mortal remains lie scattered in mass graves and burial sites across the country, thirteen years after the cessation of conflicts.
The International Day of the Disappeared is an annual, global event that takes place on 30th August to commemorate persons who have disappeared as a consequence of armed conflict, crimes against humanity or other violations of human rights and whose fate and whereabouts are unknown. The idea to commemorate this day comes from the Latin American Federation of Associations for Relatives of the Detained and Disappeared, which was founded in 1981 in Costa Rica.