Families of missing persons in Nepal receive vital aid from Red Cross Movement

Topics: Asia, Finding Family
September 25, 2012

Families of missing persons in Nepal receive vital aid from Red Cross Movement

Internal armed conflict in Nepal may have ceased in 2006, but the region continues to feel the effects of family separation brought on by the violence that raged within the country for 10 years.

With the support of National Societies like the Canadian Red Cross and the Nepal Red Cross Society (NRCS), the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) has sought to assist the families of missing persons learn more about the whereabouts of a loved one.

How is a person considered missing by the ICRC or NRCS? In Nepal, individuals who became unaccounted for between February 13, 1996 and November 21, 2006, may be considered missing if their families are also presently waiting for information regarding the fate of the family member or are waiting for government aid as a result of the disappearance.

In addition, if families are waiting for a death certificate or declaration of death from the government as an acknowledgement of the disappearance and/or are waiting to receive information on where a loved one's remains are located, this may confer missing person status to an unaccounted for individual.

Since 2007, the ICRC and NRCS have compiled lists of missing persons in Nepal. The most recent list, which was published in 2012, contains the names of 1,401 missing persons.

"The primary aim of publishing these names is to acknowledge the suffering of 1,401 families in Nepal who are still anxious to know what happened to their loved ones," said Sylvie Thoral, the head of the ICRC delegation in Kathmandu. "The government has made a concerted effort to provide relief and support for the families of missing persons, but more needs to be done to clarify their fate and whereabouts."

While the NRCS has taken a more hands-on role from 2011 to 2012 and serves as the primary contact between the ICRC and families in search of missing loved ones in Nepal, the ICRC remains committed to improving the lives of all Nepalese citizens, refugees and migrants who may have been impacted by the conflict.

In 2010, the organization partnered with international and Nepal-based non-governmental organizations to start an initiative that addresses the psychosocial needs of wives and mothers of missing persons.

Referred to as Hateymalo, or "join hands together," the initiative provides legal, community and economic assistance and strives to support families in the recovery process. This network that the initiative forms has allowed more than 700 families of missing persons to gain vital aid.

With the help of the ICRC, the Canadian Red Cross has been able to restore family links for Nepalese migrants and refugees within their borders.

To make a difference in the lives of those who were separated from loved ones due to armed conflict, natural disaster and other humanitarian incidents and to show your support for services like The Canadian Red Cross Family Reunification program, consider donating online today!

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