Reference : V-P-UG-E-00397
Date : 20/08/2013
Country/Region : UGANDA
Caption : North Uganda, Palabeck Gem Subcounty, Kamama. Doreen Aol (30) is an "accompanier" for an ICRC programme helping people deal with the ambiguous loss of not knowing what has happened to an abducted relative.
Photographer : MOORE, Phil
Confidentiality level : public
Publication restrictions : publication without restrictions
Copyright : ICRC
Description :
"My brothers were abducted, but they came back," she recalls. This experience was part of the reason for her wanting to help families with missing relatives. Not all families recognised that they had problems dealing with the distress. "They had developed negative coping mechanisms," explains Mrs Aol. "Some were spending all day in the fields to avoid contact, while others turned to alcohol."

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.

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.

ICRC website, photo gallery, 28/08/2013
Original material : digital
Resolution : 4051x2696
Orientation : landscape
Colour/B&W : colour