The 1989–1997 civil war in Bougainville, Papua New Guinea, left up to
20,000 people dead, while many of those who vanished during the violence
are still unaccounted for. Their loved ones are left in the dark about
Today, many people in the Autonomous Region of Bougainville still have no answers about what happened to their loved ones who went missing during the conflict more than 20 years ago.
The ICRC, together with the Papua New Guinea Red Cross Society in Bougainville, helps families of missing persons to raise awareness of their plight and organize remembrance ceremonies, such as to commemorate International Day of the Disappeared.
Relatives of missing persons holding flowers, waiting to take part in a silent march in Arawa.
© Rocky Roe Photographics
To mark the 2015 International Day of the Disappeared, families of missing persons in Bougainville and local Red Cross volunteers organized events in two different locations, Arawa and Buka, with the support of the ICRC.
On 28 August a silent march took place through the town of Arawa, followed by a gathering in the local park where speeches and first-hand accounts were delivered by families of missing persons, local politicians and ICRC representatives.
In Buka, the president and the vice president of the Autonomous Bougainville Government joined the families of the Missing Persons Association, the Papua New Guinea Red Cross Society, politicians, activists, the media and the general public in ceremonies, which lasted non-stop for more than 36 hours.