Bougainville Breaking News Emergency News News Bulletin Papua New Guinea Southern

OFFICE OF THE MISSING OPENED IN BUKA

Families of persons who went missing during the Bougainville Conflict will be able to know about the fate and whereabouts of their loved ones following the opening of the Office of the Missing in Bougainville recently.

The office was established by the Autonomous Bougainville Government (ABG) with the technical support of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).

This marks a crucial step towards addressing the issue of persons who went missing during the Bougainville Conflict and providing solace to affected families.

The Office of the Missing in Bougainville will serve as a dedicated institution committed to setting up a strictly humanitarian mechanism to search for the missing persons and help families, where possible, find answers to the fate and whereabouts of their loved ones.

Recognizing the profound social, emotional, and psychological toll on these families, the ICRC is supporting the authorities to take a proactive stance to address these issues.

The ICRC’s involvement in the establishment of the Office of Missing in Bougainville is a testament to its unwavering commitment to humanitarian action.

“The fact that many people have gone missing, and their families still do not know what has happened to them and where they are is a source of stress and serious suffering,” ICRC’s Head of Mission in Papua New Guinea Georgios Georgantas said during the opening of the office.

“We have faced such situations in other parts of the world, and we know what it means. The inauguration of this office marks our determination to do something about it.”

“The ICRC will be supporting the office but the ultimate responsibility of providing answers to the people of Bougainville lies with the authorities in the Autonomous Region of Bougainville.”

ABG Attorney-General and Minister for Bougainville Independence Mission Implementation Ezekiel Masatt said, “it is important to realize that the issue of missing persons is not only about retrieving bones, but it is also about dealing with the trauma that people live with.”

“The work ICRC does with the missing goes well with our culture. In terms of our cultural obligations, we have no choice but to attend to the issue of missing persons because if we don’t, we will continue to be troubled,” Masatt said.

“Under my stewardship, this office will get the attention it deserves.”

The Office of the Missing in Bougainville will support a range of operations to assist families in their search for answers. These operations include collecting and analyzing data, conducting actual searches, collaborating with relevant stakeholders, and providing psychosocial support to the families of missing persons.

The leaders of Bougainville including Ishmael Toroama and others acknowledged ICRC and head of mission Georgantas for their support to the local authorities on the issue of the missing persons.

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