Committee on Migration, Refugees and Displaced Persons
This report presents an overview of the current situation with regard to missing persons during the conflict in Ukraine, including available numbers on missing civilians, volunteers and military personnel, as well as missing persons in Crimea and missing Russian soldiers. Special attention is given to the needs of the families of missing persons and the assistance which should be provided to them. It stresses the primary responsibility of the authorities of Ukraine and the Russian Federation, as well as of the separatist groups controlling the territories of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions, in helping the families of missing persons to find and, where appropriate, to identify the remains of their loved one’s without delay.
The authorities should also create the necessary legal framework and national mechanisms to solve the problem of missing persons. Following the example of other European countries which have dealt with the problem of missing persons, it is of primary importance to establish a joint mechanism (working group) dealing with the issue of missing persons during the conflict in Ukraine and to ensure its efficient functioning. All sides of the conflict should accelerate the process of the identification of exhumed bodies using all available means, including DNA matching, the matching of ante and post mortem data and visual identification, as determined by forensic experts. They should also provide financial, medical and social assistance to the families of missing persons. The Council of Europe can also play its role in the ongoing process of clarifying the fate and whereabouts of missing persons in connection with the conflict in Ukraine, by offering relevant expertise especially in the framework of co-operation programmes.