Who are The Missing?
A missing person is someone whose state of being & whereabouts are unknown.
Anyone in the wrong place at the wrong time can become a missing person. The circumstances vary, from armed conflict to natural disasters to human trafficking to religious or political persecution.
There is no consistent accounting for individuals who disappear without a trace.
No One Disappears Alone
There are always some facts, witnesses and documents that can shed light on the missing. Any information, no matter how circumstantial, adds a piece to the puzzle. The answers exist, but often they are only given when it suits key individuals politically or economically. The rules of war may have been broken and revelations can be embarrassing. As a result, humanitarian concerns are ignored and ‘The Missing’ are lost forever, creating endless tragedies for their families and weakening their societies. To die for freedom is acceptable. To be abandoned for it is not.
Jane E. Durgom-Powers
Founder & President, IFFAMPAC
International Federation of Family Associations of Missing Persons from Armed Conflicts (IFFAMPAC), now known as Families of the Missing, is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization – All contributions are tax deductible
The challenges lie in data collection,
authorities withholding information, and individuals providing inaccurate and/or falsified information.
Accurate record-keeping is difficult or non-existent
as many countries lack resources provided. Since the beginning of documented history of conflicts, accounting for missing persons has been historically overlooked.
To complicate matters further, many countries have laws
and/or cultural restrictions prohibiting women from inheriting land or obtaining access to bank accounts. Women often find themselves unable to provide for their families without proof of a husband’s death. In many cases, women do not have an education, emotional support, or sufficient work opportunities. As a result, families often end up homeless, or children are sold, abandoned, or given away.
“To be a missing person means to be forgotten, except only in the minds and hearts of your loved ones. In death, you grieve, you mourn, and then you go on with your life. But when your loved one is missing, you can only grieve.”
— Ghanaian woman (name withheld) Accra, Ghana