Families of missing persons in Nepal: a study of their needs

Simon Robins (ICRC)
Publication Year
Asia and the Pacific
Thematic Area
Central Tracing Agency (CTA) / Family Needs / Psychosocial Support / Right to Know/Truth
Open access

The present report sums up the findings of extensive research on the needs of families of missing persons in Nepal. It has been carried out by an external consultant familiar with the matter and the particular context of Nepal, under contract to the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).

The objective of the report is twofold:

  • to give a voice to the families of persons unaccounted for in relation to the 1996-2006 armed conflict in Nepal;
  • to provide stakeholders in the peace process under way in Nepal since 2006 with information giving them a better understanding of the families' needs.

The emphasis on needs is in contrast to the dominant rights-based approach deriving from a predominant legal discourse. There is a perception that the concept of rights gives agency to victims, since unlike needs, which are a passive concept, rights are something that can be claimed. This research in Nepal has shown that the contrary is true. When victims, families of the missing or others are asked about what they want, very few use the language of rights.