Guidance for mediators on addressing the fate of missing persons

ref. 4785

One means of addressing the fate of missing persons in a timely manner, whether as part of broader peace processes or not, is mediation. This can help prevent further disappearances, resolve existing cases and address the broad range of rights and needs of those affected, including families and communities, as well as the obligations of states and parties to armed conflicts.

This guidance seeks to support mediators in such efforts, by making the case to include missing persons in mediation in the first instance, and further by providing sets of questions that can help guide mediation processes with regard to missing persons and referring to real-world examples. As any mediation process must be framed by relevant international obligations of states and parties to armed conflicts, a non-comprehensive overview of key obligations in IHL and international human rights law relevant to missing persons in armed conflict is provided in Annex 2. Nothing in this guidance shall be interpreted as restricting, modifying or impairing any international obligations, or as derogating from the obligations of states and the rights of victims, including with regard to truth, justice, reparations and guarantees of non-recurrence in the aftermath of crimes under international law.

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