Sri Lanka families of the missing join international conference

Around 700 families of missing persons from around the world connected to share their experiences at the third International Conference for Families of Missing Persons on November 21-23.

The forum brought together families whose loved ones have gone missing due to armed conflict, migration, or other situations of violence.

“Thirty-seven families of missing persons from all communities in Sri Lanka joined from Colombo, Vavuniya and Batticaloa to share their experience and exchange their views with families from other countries,” a statement by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) in Sri Lanka said.

The event was hosted by ICRC delegations and Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies through 44 conference hubs around the world.

“The conference provided a virtual platform for families to see how others around the world are coping with the uncertainty, understand the challenges, learn about the support services available to them and how families can help each other.”

The participating families were also given the opportunity to interact with the Global Alliance for the Missing, a group of 12 member states established in 2021 to advocate on the issue of missing persons at diplomatic level.

The conference highlighted the urgency of providing answers about the fate of missing persons, the importance of the participation of families of missing persons in the search process, and the need for dignified treatment of families of missing persons.

The significance of keeping the issue of missing persons on national and global agendas was also pointed out.

Sri Lanka has seen tens of thousands of its citizens disappear without a trace in several insurgencies over the last five decades, most notably during the civil war.