from ADANE BIKILA in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
ADDIS ABABA, (CAJ News) – MORE than 25 000 minors are missing across Africa, mostly as a result of conflict.
Children thus represent 40 percent of the 64 000 cases of disappeared persons registered by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) across the continent.
ICRC attributed this to over 35 active armed conflicts in Africa today, thousands of people crossing borders, the Sahara Desert and the Mediterranean Sea in search of safety and a better life each year.
ICRC warned that the actual figures are much higher.
“Sadly, the 25,000 registered cases do not capture the full scope of this often-neglected and tragic humanitarian issue,” said Patrick Youssef, regional director for the ICRC in Africa.
He added, “There is no doubt that there are more children whose fate remains unknown.”
The ICRC and the African Union (AU) are hosting a high-level policy meeting in Addis Ababa on August 30, focusing on missing migrants.
This is to promote a more coherent and effective approach among African states that can help prevent people from going missing and better provide information about their fate to their families.
In 2021, the Red Cross helped establish the whereabouts and fates of 4 200 people and reunited 1 200 families across Africa.
It also facilitated more than 773 000 phone and video calls between separated families as a result of armed conflict or other situations of violence, migration, detention or other circumstances.
– CAJ News