The book of the missing
More than 3,360 people have been reported missing in Kosovo, mainly of
Albanian but also of Serb origin. This figure confirms that certain numbers
quoted at the time of NATO's intervention against the Federal Republic of
Yugoslavia were overestimated. It nonetheless testifies to the tragic losses
suffered by thousands of families in the province. The names of all the
missing people have been published by the ICRC in a 200-page book.
According to the ICRC, the number of missing people breaks down into over
2,700 ethnic Albanians, almost 400 Serbs and nearly 200 people from other
communities (such as Roma and Montenegrins).
"This publication represents much more than just another simple
list. It is a chapter in the sad history of Kosovo," said Alain Kolly,
head of the ICRC mission in Kosovo.
The ICRC has appealed to the authorities in Belgrade and Pristina to
provide as much information as possible concerning these missing persons.
The lists contained in the book are available for consultation online (http://www.familylinks.icrc.org).
The book has also been distributed to National Societies in contact with
large communities of Kosovars, mainly in western Europe.
A first in the Middle East
For the first time in the Middle East, high-ranking officers from the
region have met to exchange experiences on disseminating the law of armed
conflict. Meeting in the Jordanian capital, Amman, in April, the
participants hailed from Algeria, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon,
Libya, Mauritania, Oman, the Palestinian National Authority, Qatar, Saudi
Arabia, Sudan, Syria, Tunisia and the United Arab Emirates. Initiated by the
ICRC and held under the auspices of the Jordanian armed forces, the two days
of talks were aimed at advancing the integration of the rules of
humanitarian law into the armed forces, at both the strategic and tactical
Contest in Dakar
Civil war has erupted in Paraboulem, a small republic in eastern
Bellitia! The country is riddled with landmines, humanitarian workers are
under threat and civilians are the primary victims of this full-scale
humanitarian crisis. If you were an ICRC delegate and you had to meet the
rebels, how would you go about it? This hypothetical mission was the basis
for one of the tests in Africa's first humanitarian law competition.
Organized by the ICRC's regional delegation in Senegal, the contest was held
in Dakar from 25-28 April with the participation of UNHCR, UNICEF and local
human rights organizations. The tests provided future lawyers, diplomats,
journalists and military officials with the opportunity to put into practice
their theoretical knowledge through direct exposure to the dilemmas facing
humanitarian action. The jury was composed of humanitarian law professors
and practitioners who joined in by playing the parts of various
protagonists. The team from the Dakar law faculty carried the day in the
A rapid response
When an earthquake measuring 7.9 on the Richter scale hit the western
coast of Sumatra on 4 June, 90 per cent of the houses on Enggano island were
destroyed. Within hours, an International Federation assessment team was
dispatched from Geneva to the quake zone. The three delegates were joined in
Jakarta by the Federation's regional health delegate and water/sanitation
officer, and personnel from the Japanese and Singapore Red Cross Societies.
Working in close collaboration with the Indonesian Red Cross Society (Palang
Merah Indonesia - PMI), the team was on Enggano island, only 15 km from the
quake's epicentre, within 24 hours.
One of the greatest concerns was to see if the water supply had been
contaminated. Family wells, although cracked, were still serviceable.
However, families had lost their water containers and cooking pots when
their houses collapsed, and were unable to store and boil water to make it
safe for drinking.
The 400 stricken families on Enggano were soon provided with household
kits including water containers, jerrycans and cooking pots. They were
purchased in Jakarta by PMI, who coordinated the relief effort with the
Back on the mainland, another 15,000 kits were distributed to destitute
people living on the streets in devastated Bengkulu province, too fearful to
return to their damaged houses until the earth stopped shaking.
three years as Federation editor, Jean Milligan has left Red
Cross, Red Crescent magazine. She inspired us all with her
dedication, professionalism and exceptional editing skills,
and we wish her well.
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