For Immediate Release
March 8, 2005
Contact: Daniel J. Johnson
International Women’s Day a Time for Hearing the Needs of Women
Rockford, Illinois. “International Women’s Day is a time for paying particular attention to the needs of women who instantly become heads of households because of the disappearance of their husbands during an armed conflict,” said Jane E. Durgom-Powers, founder and president of the International Federation of Family Associations of Missing Persons from Armed Conflicts (IFFAMPAC). IFFAMPAC works to unite families and family associations in their effort to learn the fate of loved ones who are missing because of armed conflicts.
“The issue of the missing–those listed as missing in action or those who have been seized and held unlawfully–is inherently a concern for women. When a husband is listed as missing in action, that status in many countries all too often prevents women from receiving adequate financial assistance from their government,” Durgom-Powers said.
“This dilemma further curtails their right to use their husband’s financial assets. That can be a desperate situation because when men go off to war, it is the women who must keep families together and homes and family businesses running,” Durgom-Powers said. “For women the aftermath of a single armed conflict can mean years of poverty, isolation, and anguish from not knowing the fate of their missing husbands.”
“We hope that starting with today’s observance of International Women’s Day, ordinary citizens will try to learn more about the issue of the missing because they can raise their voices to inspire governments to do more.”
Jane E. Durgom-Powers is an international human rights attorney who has worked on POW/MIA issues for more than 34 years. She is recognized by members of the U.S. military community and international non-governmental organizations as the leading international attorney on POW/MIA issues. She has also served as an advisor to the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) on the project of “The Missing.” Durgom-Powers is co-founder of The Raoul Wallenberg Humanitarian Institute in Chicago.
After serving for many years as League Counsel for the National League of Families of American Prisoners and Missing in Southeast Asia, Jane E. Durgom-Powers founded IFFAMPAC in 2003 as an international non-governmental organization to serve as an advocate, link, and information archive and clearinghouse for families and family associations worldwide in their effort to prevent their loved ones from becoming unaccounted for and to resolve cases of missing persons.
IFFAMPAC is working in a joint effort with the International Humanitarian Law Subcommittee of the International Human Rights Committee of the International Section of the American Bar Association to develop a new model international law and to develop best practices guidelines to address the issue of the missing.
# # #