Families of people missing or captured in the Russia-Ukraine international armed conflict visit ICRC headquarters


A team from the International Committee of the Red Cross’s Central Tracing Agency Bureau met on Monday with family members from Ukraine whose relatives are missing or in captivity due to the international armed conflict between the Russian Federation and Ukraine.

The ICRC currently has 28,000 open cases for people searching for their loved ones because they have been captured, killed or lost contact after fleeing their homes in relation to the conflict. Behind each case is someone’s fate and a story of pain, anger and expectation of news.

The fact that these Ukrainian families took this long journey from their homes to meet with us in Geneva is a stark reminder of the deep pain, anger and frustration that they feel. Not knowing what happened to a loved one is excruciating, and all families have the right to know what happened to their relative and, when possible, exchange news with them. Their suffering is unacceptable.

The ICRC meets with people seeking news of a missing relative to explain the ICRC’s mandate and way of working, as well as to answer questions and listen to concerns from families.

Since the escalation of the Russia-Ukraine armed conflict in February 2022, the ICRC has received 165,000 calls, letters and other personal contacts from relatives enquiring about their missing loved ones. The ICRC has provided 9,000 families with information about their relatives, but countless people live in a state of uncertainty about the fate of those dearest to them.

The ICRC has visited more than 3,000 prisoners of war in captivity in order to check on their internment conditions and inform their families, but we are painfully aware that ICRC teams still do not have full, regular and unimpeded access to all POWs held in relation to the Russia-Ukraine international armed conflict.

The ICRC continues to insist that our teams are able to visit all POWs held in relation to the conflict. The ICRC calls on the parties to the international armed conflict to fully comply with their obligations under international humanitarian law, including by providing the ICRC with timely information about the fate and whereabouts of all those they are holding captive.

About CTA-B

Acting as a neutral intermediary between the parties to the conflict, the Central Tracing Agency Bureau collects, centralizes, and transmits information on the fate and whereabouts of military personnel and civilians who have gone missing or have been separated from their families. It strives to ensure they are accounted for and retain family links.

Based in Geneva, the CTA Bureau works closely with Red Cross and Red Crescent partners around the world to support families looking for news about their missing or separated relatives. It will remain active for as long as needed to provide them with information about their loved ones.

About the ICRC

The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) is a neutral, impartial and independent organization with an exclusively humanitarian mandate that stems from the Geneva Conventions of 1949. It helps people around the world affected by armed conflict and other violence, doing everything it can to protect their lives and dignity and to relieve their suffering, often alongside its Red Cross and Red Crescent partners.

/Public Release. View in full here.