21 Jul 2016

Reunification of missing in Bougainville a step closer

2:12 pm on 21 July 2016

A Red Cross spokesperson says progress is being made in returning the remains of Bougainvilleans who died during the civil war to their families.

Dan Waites of the International Committee of the Red Cross in Papua New Guinea said a working group has been established to move the process forward.

He said the aim was to set up an 'Office of the Missing' as a centralised body to collate information on missing persons.

"It would allow perpetrators in the conflict to give information on a confidential basis.

So this is quite crucial to the whole plan in that the perpetrators need the confidence to come forward and know that they can give information in a secure way."

He said it would also allow families to give names and last known whereabouts of missing people.

In October 2014 the Autonomous Bougainville Government adopted a policy to help its people discover what had happened to their missing family members.

Mr Waites said until recently little progress had been made on clarifying the fate and whereabouts of those missing in the crisis.

Bougainvilleans mark International Day of the Disappeared.

Bougainvilleans mark International Day of the Disappeared. Photo: ICRC