UN / MISSING PERSONS

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11-Jun-2019 00:03:16
The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) has observed “an alarming increase in cases” of missing persons in armed conflicts in recent years, the ICRC President told Security Council as the UN body adopted a resolution that addresses the issue. UNIFEED

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STORY: UN / MISSING PERSONS
TRT: 3:11
SOURCE: UNIFEED
RESTRICTIONS: NONE
LANGUAGE: ARABIC /ENGLISH /NATS

DATELINE: 11 JUNE 2019, NEW YORK CITY

SHOTLIST:

FILE

1. Wide shot, UN Headquarters

11 JUNE 2019, NEW YORK CITY

2. Wide shot, Security Council
3. UPSOUND (Arabic) Sheikh Sabah Khalid Al Hamad AI Sabah, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs of Kuwait:
“Those in favor of the draft resolution S/2019/475, raise your hand.”
4. Pan left, Council voting
5. Wide shot, Security Council
6. SOUNDBITE (Arabic) Sheikh Sabah Khalid Al Hamad AI Sabah, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs of Kuwait:
“I can’t but welcome the adoption of resolution 2474 by the Security Council, which Kuwait drafted and tabled it for its humane significance which touches the hearts of the Kuwaiti people and reinforces international efforts aimed at resolving the issue of missing persons in armed conflicts.”
7. Cutaway, delegates
8. SOUNDBITE (Arabic) Sheikh Sabah Khalid Al Hamad AI Sabah, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs of Kuwait:
“The state of Kuwait has a tragic experience in this humanitarian issue. We continue our efforts to determine the fate of our missing nationals since the war to liberate Kuwait from the Iraqi invasion 1991, whereas we have been able to determine the fate of only 236 missing persons out of 605.”
9. Wide shot, Security Council
10. SOUNDBITE (English) Peter Maurer, President, International Committee of the Red Cross:
“Today, as we focus on the issue of missing persons in armed conflict, I have to report that the ICRC has observed an alarming increase in cases recent years. In 2018 alone over 45,000 new cases were registered by the ICRC s Central Tracing Agency - the neutral entity mandated by the Geneva Conventions. We know this figure is the tip of the iceberg and does not convey the true extent of the problem nor do justice to the suffering of each and every family.”
11. Cutaway, delegates
12. SOUNDBITE (English) Peter Maurer, President, International Committee of the Red Cross:
“Every time someone goes missing, families wait for answers. Ricocheting between hope and despair, they mark anniversaries - one year, two years, ten years. The trauma of ambiguous loss is one of the deepest wounds of war. The pain infects whole communities, lasting decades, preventing societies from reconciling. The ICRC is a daily witness to this suffering. Our teams are frequently approached with pleas for help: mothers searching for sons, husbands searching for their wives.”
13. Cutaway, delegates
14. SOUNDBITE (English) Reena Ghelani, Director for Operations and Advocacy, United Nations Office for the Coordination Humanitarian Affairs:
“As the resolution rightly stresses, strengthening the role and capacity of relevant existing national, regional and international mechanisms to provide advice and support to Member States will be essential. We would also encourage Member States to engage in networking, exchange of experience, best practices and other means of cooperation on the issue of missing persons as a result of armed conflict.”

STORYLINE:

The UN Security Council today (11 Jun) adopted unanimously a resolution to address the issue of missing persons in armed conflicts, in which it calls upon parties to armed conflict to take all appropriate measures to actively search for persons reported missing, to enable the return of their remains, as well as to prevent persons from going missing as a result of armed conflict, through the facilitation of the reunion of families dispersed as a result of armed conflict, and to allow for the exchange of family news, consistent with their international obligations.

Tabled by Kuwait, this is the first Securitty Council resolution that addresses the missing persons in armed conflicts as a stand-alone issue.

Chairing the meeting of the Council when the resolution was adopted, Kuwait’s Foreign Minister Sheikh Sabah Khalid Al Hamad AI Sabah said “I can’t but welcome the adoption of resolution 2474 by the Security Council, which Kuwait drafted and tabled it for its humane significance which touches the hearts of the Kuwaiti people and reinforces international efforts aimed at resolving the issue of missing persons in armed conflicts.”

The Minister also said “the state of Kuwait has a tragic experience in this humanitarian issue. We continue our efforts to determine the fate of our missing nationals since the war to liberate Kuwait from the Iraqi invasion 1991, whereas we have been able to determine the fate of only 236 missing persons out of 605.”

Kuwait, a country that is also holding the presidency of the Security Council for the month of June, reportedly drafted the resolution in close consultation with the ICRC.

The Committee’s President Peter Maurer briefed the Council’s members via videolink and said “today, as we focus on the issue of missing persons in armed conflict, I have to report that the ICRC has observed an alarming increase in cases recent years.”

Maurer said “every time someone goes missing, families wait for answers. Ricocheting between hope and despair, they mark anniversaries - one year, two years, ten years. The trauma of ambiguous loss is one of the deepest wounds of war. The pain infects whole communities, lasting decades, preventing societies from reconciling. The ICRC is a daily witness to this suffering. Our teams are frequently approached with pleas for help: mothers searching for sons, husbands searching for their wives.”

Speaking for the UN Humanitarian Coordinator Mark Lowcock, Reena Ghelani, Director for Operations and Advocacy of the United Nations Office for the Coordination Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said “as the resolution rightly stresses, strengthening the role and capacity of relevant existing national, regional and international mechanisms to provide advice and support to Member States will be essential. We would also encourage Member States to engage in networking, exchange of experience, best practices and other means of cooperation on the issue of missing persons as a result of armed conflict.”

The historic text adopted unanimously on Tuesday puts emphasis on moving from a post-conflict approach to one that addresses the issue of at the beginning of hostilities. It lists several prevention measures, including: detainee registration, ensuring means of identification, and the establishment of national information bureaux, “to exchange information on detainees and civilians belonging to an adverse party, to transmit information to that party…and to open enquiries regarding these persons”. The resolution places a special emphasis on missing children and reaffirms the Council’s support for ICRC’s efforts in this matter and calls on parties to conflict to cooperate with the NGO and its Tracing Agency, in line with international humanitarian law.
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