The Global Alliance for the Missing is a group of states that aims to raise awareness of the issue of missing persons and separated families, influence responses to it and prompt action to address it.
Launched on 11 May 2021 on the margins of the 150th anniversary of the Central Tracing Agency by ICRC president Peter Maurer and Swiss Secretary of State Livia Leu, the Global Alliance currently comprises twelve member states: Argentina, Azerbaijan, Colombia, Croatia, Estonia, the Republic of Korea, Kuwait, Mexico, Nigeria, Norway, Peru and Switzerland.
As part of the Global Alliance’s objective to step up collective diplomatic engagement to prevent people from going missing, clarify the fate and whereabouts of those who do, respond to the needs of families and respect the dignity of the dead, its members:
The Global Alliance for the Missing has taken an important step in its efforts to champion the issue of missing persons. On 23 May 2023, the alliance delivered its first joint statement during the UN Security Council’s open debate dedicated to the protection of civilians, chaired by Switzerland.
The statement, delivered on behalf of the alliance by Her Excellency, Ms Mona Juul of Norway, highlighted the large gaps in the implementation of UN Security Council Resolution 2474 of 2019 on missing persons in armed conflict and emphasized the need for concrete action at the regional and national levels. In this regard, it offered the support of alliance members, who have a wealth of experience in addressing the issue of missing persons.
On 9 November 2022, the Permanent Mission of Norway to the United Nations in New York, in collaboration with representatives of Colombia, Croatia, Kuwait, Switzerland, the ICRC and the Norwegian Red Cross, co-organized an event entitled “Time does not heal, only answers do”. The meeting brought together current and incoming members of the United Nations Security Council and the Global Alliance for the Missing to discuss the connection between the issue of missing persons and peace processes. The event aimed to: shed light on efforts to establish the whereabouts of missing persons, focusing in particular on the context of peace processes; identify good practices and lessons learned; and share experiences, with a view to strengthening the implementation of United Nations Security Council Resolution 2474 (2019), especially with regard to building and maintaining a sustainable peace.
On 15 September 2022, the Global Alliance for the Missing and the ICRC co-organized a side event on National Mechanisms for Missing Persons and their Families during the 51st session of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva, Switzerland. The participants included the president of the ICRC, Peter Maurer; Ambassador Francisca Méndez Escobar, permanent representative of Mexico to the United Nations in Geneva and co-chair of the Global Alliance for the Missing; and Ambassador Federico Villegas, permanent representative of Argentina to the United Nations in Geneva and president of the Human Rights Council.
The event was an opportunity to familiarize participants with key considerations regarding the design and operation of missing persons mechanisms, i.e. efforts to establish the fate and whereabouts of missing persons and address the needs of their families.
Representatives of Argentina, Azerbaijan, the Republic of Korea, Kuwait, Mexico and Peru (all member states of the Global Alliance for the Missing) shared their respective experiences of establishing national mechanisms, searching for missing persons, supporting the families concerned and managing information related to the search. In addition, information was provided on diplomatic initiatives linked to missing persons in armed conflict.
In a speed dating-type session, member states of the Global Alliance for the Missing and ICRC experts spoke to representatives of permanent missions in Geneva and accredited civil society organizations and explained the key principles and elements of national mechanisms:
These principles are also contained in Guidance Notes on National Mechanisms for Missing Persons, recently published by the ICRC.