For Immediate Release
August 30, 2005
Contact: Daniel J. Johnson
International Day of the Disappeared
We wait with those who are waiting
Rockford, Illinois. “Today we stand in solidarity with the millions of families around the world that have someone missing because he or she was taken away by force and never heard from again. Although wars may end, these families have questions that remain unanswered for years, if they are answered at all,” 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.
“Enforced disappearance, just like a combat-related disappearance, makes casualties of families. Every family has a fundamental right to know what happened and when, where, and how it happened. And more importantly, they have a right to know when they will have their son or father or daughter or mother returned to them, even if it is only their remains. Without knowing that, the war will never end for them.
“To take away a person by force and keep his or her well-being and whereabouts secret is a brutal violation of human dignity and liberty. It is as abhorrent as slavery,” Durgom-Powers said.
“Many Americans associate the MIA issue largely with the Vietnam War. Because we have so few of our own citizens missing from conflicts since the end of that war, it’s easy to leave the memory of our MIAs to history and not feel connected to others around the world whose losses are recent.
“With the attention given to the disappeared and the missing on this day, we hope that governments and even non-state participants in armed conflicts will begin to be more co-operative with families in providing them with answers. We also hope that governments and private groups continue to work together to do even more to return those who are missing to those who wait for them,” she said.
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.