Kyiv (ICRC) – The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) welcomes the adoption of the Law on the Missing by the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine today and looks forward to its swift and full implementation.

“This is a positive development which should speed up and streamline the process of search for and identification of missing persons and support to their families. The ICRC is pleased to have been consulted in the drafting process, and that a number of our recommendations have been taken onboard”, says Alain Aeschlimann, Head of the ICRC Delegation in Ukraine.

The ICRC particularly welcomes the establishment in the Law of the National Commission on the Missing, which is meant to bring together and coordinate the important work of the various governmental institutions involved in the search for and identification of missing persons and support to their families. Another positive development is the inclusion of a Unified Register of Missing Persons.

“It is encouraging that the adopted Law includes the principle of support from the state foreseen for families of missing who have lost their breadwinners. We would also like to stress that the authorities should adopt a holistic response towards the multifaceted needs of families of missing persons, which include legal, administrative, financial and psychosocial aspects. The ICRC stands ready to continue providing support to address these and other needs of the families”, adds Mr. Aeschlimann.

While there is no precise figure on how many people are unaccounted for as a result of the conflict, it is estimated that more than 1,500 people have gone missing since 2014. Reaching a precise figure is complex, as the conflict is still ongoing, and information has not been consolidated. A Unified Register, envisioned in the Law, should help in this regard.

“It is reassuring that the Law recognizes the fact that this is an issue that affects persons regardless of on what side of the line of contact they reside. The ICRC continues to stand ready to offer its services as a neutral intermediary between all sides concerned”, stresses Mr. Aeschlimann.