Missing persons

People often loose contact with each other, because of natural disaster or armed conflict. Family members sometimes have to flee in different directions and loose track of their loved ones. By using the worldwide Red Cross network, the Tracing service attempts to locate these missing relatives and to re-establish contact between them.

For this purpose, Tracing cooperates with the ICRC, its delegations in areas of conflict and the other Red Cross and Red Crescent societies. Depending on the local situation and the cultural context, different tracing methods are used to locate missing persons. It is also important to note that each tracing request is handled with confidentiality and the Red Cross only gives information about the found person with the latter?s prior consent.

For a number of conflict areas, the ICRC has created a special website, where people looking for their relatives can register: http://www.icrc.org/familylinks. The countries concerned are Angola, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Iraq, Kosovo, Nepal and Somalia.

Tracing also tries to locate persons, with whom contact has been lost for other reasons than disaster or conflict. However, these cases of welfare tracing may not be of an investigative, scientific or historical nature.