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Tracing Missing Relatives

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International humanitarian law contains several provisions stipulating that families have the right to know what has happened to their missing relatives and that the warring parties must use every means at their disposal to provide those families with information. Taking these two cardinal principles in particular as a basis for action, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) has set up various mechanisms to assist families suffering the agony of uncertainty, even after the guns have fallen silent. In any conflict the ICRC starts out by trying to assess the problem of persons reported missing. Families without news of their relatives are asked to fill out tracing requests describing the circumstances in which the individual sought was last seen. Each request is then turned over to the authorities with whom the person in question last had contacts.

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