Reference : V-P-PE-E-01252
Date : 06/2018
Country/Region : PERU
Caption : Ayacucho region. More than 70,000 people died in Peru during the armed conflict that took place between 1980 and 2000. Today, almost 20,000 families are still searching for their relatives who "disappeared" during this period.
Photographer : ABRIL, Laia
Confidentiality level : public
Publication restrictions : publication without restrictions
Copyright : ICRC
Description : This picture is from an exhibition "Suyay", by the artist Laia Abril. It depicts the pain and resilience of families waiting for answers concerning the fate of their missing relatives in Peru. The exhibition was held at the Centre de la Photographie Genève from 7 to 25 November 2018. The show's title from the Quecha word suyay, which means "to wait."

Exhibition extract:
Mamá Angélica passed away on 28 August 2017, just ten days after hearing the sentence condemning the atrocities committed at the Los Cabitos barracks. The ruling confirmed that her son had been one of the 109 people killed in that military facility. Angelica, a symbol of the struggle for the disappeared, was one of the three founders of ANFASEP in September 1983. Three months earlier, a group of soldiers had kidnapped her 19-year-old son Arquímedes and taken him to Los Cabitos. He was never seen again.

The chances of finding the disappeared diminish over time, due to the death of the relatives searching for them. When human remains are found and there are no relatives to return them to, they are handed over to the town or village where the person came from.
After 35 years, Archimedes is still missing.

ICRC website, article of 08.11.2018:
"Waiting is never passive: New photos shed light on Peru’s missing

Twenty thousand families sit suspended between life and death: unable to mourn or move forward until they know the fate of their relatives.

Waiting is not a passive activity:
The women in this exhibition tirelessly campaigning to discover the fate of their loved ones. None more so than Adelina Garcia, former president of ANFASEP, who has been searching for her husband since he went missing in 1983.

"Too often the full story is not told. That's why it was important for me to be a part of this project as it's important to me that people know the entire story, and the stories of what has happened to other women as well," Garcia said at the exhibition opening.

"I won't be able to stop until I find his remains and can bury him. For instance, my mum is buried in the cemetery. Sometimes I go and sit down beside her. I talk to her, and tell her what I'm doing. But on 4 January, when it's his birthday, I can't do that," Garcias said.

It is impossible to know exactly how many people are missing today as a result of armed conflicts, migration or natural disasters.
This photo series reminds us that no matter how much time passes, the inter-generational trauma for families is everlasting.
Original material : digital
Resolution : 5616x3744
Orientation : landscape
Colour/B&W : colour