by Fabian Hakalits – EM TV, Port Moresby
The fate of the people who went missing during the Bougainville Crisis remains unknown, which has caused great anguish and uncertainty for their families.
The International Committee of the Red Cross and PNG Red Cross, since 2012, have been working closely with the national and Autonomous Bougainville governments to clarify the fate of the missing, as well as possible avenues to support their families.
Most bodies of those killed during the Bougainville Crisis were never recovered and will probably never be found.
Families and relatives of the missing persons, on Monday this week, fare welled their loved ones who were killed but never found during the Bougainville Crisis.
An emotional and moving sea burial ceremony saw tributes paid to the thousands killed, signified in a peaceful march that started at Bel Isi Park in Buka Town. This was followed by a boat ride through the Buka Passage, before wreaths were thrown into the sea.
Several families interviewed were traumatised, but said life goes on.
The Red Cross’s Brendan Michael Kernich said that under international humanitarian law, families have the right to know.
It was identified in the workshops that the government lacks an understanding of its obligation in informing families who lost their loved ones.
The governments, military authorities and armed groups, he said, have an obligation to provide answers to questions concerning people who went missing during the Bougainville Crisis.