SRSG Tanin Recalls the Importance of Clarifying the Fate of Missing Persons and Urges Pristina and Belgrade to Redouble Their Efforts
On the occasion of the International Day of the Victims of Enforced Disappearances, Special Representative of the Secretary-General (SRSG) and Head of UNMIK, Zahir Tanin, stresses the importance of clarifying the fate of the missing and expresses UNMIK’s continued commitment to fully support this process along with the rights of their family members to the truth.
While SRSG Tanin welcomes progress achieved earlier this year with the exhumation and identification of several missing persons under the auspices of the Working Group on Missing Persons, he expresses concern that the process appears to have stalled in the past few months due to a political impasse. In this regard, he calls on Pristina and Belgrade to refrain from politicizing this critical humanitarian and human rights issue.
SRSG Tanin recalls that the Working Group on Missing Persons, which is chaired by the International Committee of the Red Cross and has the UN’s full support, has been an essential mechanism in enlightening the fate of missing persons since its establishment in 2004. He therefore urges both parties to redouble their efforts within the framework of the Working Group to search for the missing.
“As resolving the fate of the 1,630 persons who are still missing is a central component to dealing with the past and advancing inter-community reconciliation and trust building in Kosovo, UNMIK will continue to support all actors and the families of missing persons in this process,” SRSG Tanin said.
As of August 2021, there are 1,630 persons (1,367 men and 263 women) still unaccounted for in connection with the 1998 – 1999 events in Kosovo. UNMIK continues supporting the process of enlightening the fate of missing persons in Kosovo, including by closely interacting with the International Committee of the Red Cross, and supporting the Working Group on Missing Persons with the provision of technical support to the Belgrade and Pristina delegations to the Working Group to enhance capacities of their analytical team to search for the missing. During the current COVID-19 crisis, UNMIK has also been building the capacities of the Missing Persons Resource Center (MPRC), which it helped established in 2017, and supporting the families of the missing in cooperation with the MPRC.
Watch the video on missing persons produced by the MPRC with UNMIK’s support here.
Read the statement by the UN Secretary-General António Guterres on the International Day of the Victims of Enforced Disappearances here.
Read more about the work of the Working Group on Enforced and Involuntary Disappearances to clarify the fate of missing persons around the world here.
Read more about the UN Security Council’s first-ever resolution on persons reported missing during armed conflict here.