Iraq: For families of the missing, the pain remains even as the search for answers continues

Families / The Search Process
Advocacy / Central Tracing Agency (CTA) / Family Needs / Protecting/Restoring Family Links / Right to Know/Truth

Families in Iraq are still searching for answers years and decades after their loved ones went missing. As we mark the International Day of the Disappeared today, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) urges all relevant actors to strengthen their efforts to relieve the suffering of families, as time does not heal and only answers can bring consolation.

30 Aug 2023
Near and Middle East

As the world marks the International Day of the Disappeared, countless families in Iraq search and wait, for years sometimes decades, not knowing if their loved ones are dead or alive. They are unable to find closure and therefore undergo immense emotional and psychological suffering. Adding to this pain are the challenges families often face due to economic and social hardships. These families have the right to know what happened to their loved ones, a right that is enshrined in international humanitarian law.

In Iraq, decades of successive conflicts and periods of violence have led to one of the highest numbers of missing persons in the world. Hundreds of thousands of individuals remain unaccounted for, with nearly as many family members still looking for them, many of whom live in limbo due to the uncertainty around their missing relatives’ fate.