Reference : V-P-UG-E-00385
Date : 20/08/2013
Country/Region : UGANDA
Caption : North Uganda, Palabeck Gem Subcounty, Kamama. A woman sits outside her hut with her youngest child, following a remembrance ceremony for abducted people organised with the help of the ICRC.
Photographer : MOORE, Phil
Confidentiality level : public
Publication restrictions : publication without restrictions
Copyright : ICRC
Description :
The woman is Atoya Vincent's wife. Mr. Vincent was abduted by an armed group in 1999 along with his four brothers, but he escaped. The group killed three of his brothers in reprisal for his escape, and also killed his parents. His sister blamed him for their deaths and his remaining brother is still missing. He feels that the ICRC counselling sessions have made the community "more receptive to us, as families of missing persons." At today's prayer ceremony, he saw his sister. "She put forward her hand and we greeted each other. This never happened before," he said. "From the expressions I read on her face today, there are positive changes ahead. It is the prayers that give hope."

Between 1986 and 2006, up to an estimated 75,000 people were abducted in northern Uganda. In 2013, the fate of several thousands remains unknown; the ICRC estimates that there may be more than 12,000 people still missing. Their families have lived for years with this uncertainty, unable to honour their death, and hanging on to the hope that one day, their family members may return. The emotional distress this has caused has led to many feeling isolated, unable to talk about their situation with other members of the community and suffering discrimination from those who believe they are involved with the abductors.

The ICRC launched a holistic programme in Palabek Gem Subcounty identifying, and subsequently bringing together, families of the missing. The ICRC formed support groups for these families and trained "accompaniers" to facilitate discussion on learning how to cope with their grief and finding a way to move forward. This culminated in a remembrance ceremony for the missing in the village of Kamama on August 21, 2013, bringing together over 500 members of the community, to help bring affected families closer to the wider community.
Original material : digital
Resolution : 4256x2832
Orientation : landscape
Colour/B&W : colour