MISSING PERSONS IN ARMENIA, AZERBAIJAN AND GEORGIA
The Committee on Migration, Refugees and Population of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe is preparing, under the Rapporteurship of Mr Leo Platvoet (the Netherlands), a report on “Missing persons in Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia”.
In the context of the preparation of this report, Mr Platvoet has visited Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia between 4 and 9 June 2006. During this visit he has met, in each country, families of the missing, the Commissions set up to deal with the issue of missing persons, Government representatives, Parliamentarians, Ombudsman institutions, the International Commission of the Red Cross (ICRC) and others.
The aim of the mission has been to examine the progress and process of resolving the issue of missing persons in the region with a view to preparing a report with recommendations to the countries of the region on how to resolve many of the outstanding isssues in relation to missing persons. The aim of the mission has not been to find individual missing persons.
A number of important issues were examined during the course of the visit. These include:
- the needs of the families of the missing, including their need to know the fate of their relatives and also their material, social and psychological needs
- the operation and functioning of the Commissions established to look into the issue of missing persons
- the mechanisms for co-operation existing between the different Commissions operating in the region
- the role that the Ombudsman institutions in the three countries of the region could play in helping to solve the issues of the missing
- the role of the ICRC
Throughout the vist to the region, the dangers of politicisation of the issue of the missing persons has been highlighted and the importance of treating the issue of missing persons as a humanitarian and human rights matter has been stressed.