Dead migrants and information to their families

Actions taken:


  • Swiss Red Cross is part of the Working Group on “Dead Migrants and their Families”. This Working Group is composed of representatives from 9 European National Societies who have signed the Pledge and by key ICRC representatives. A plan of action and template for a mapping survey to facilitate in-country mapping of stakeholders and processes was established. For Switzerland, the Swiss Red Cross filled in the mapping together with DVI Switzerland (Disaster Victim Identification); the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs and the Federal Department of Justice and Police gave their feedback. The mapping was finalized by the beginning of 2019.
  • Subsequent to the signing of the pledge by Switzerland in 2018, a joint working group comprising representatives of Federal Department of Foreign Affairs, Federal Police, State Secretariat for Migration and Swiss Red Cross was created and met for the first time in February 2019. The group committed to the following goals:
  • 1. Clarify key stakeholders and the process for identification and registration of deceased migrants and communication to their families in Switzerland.
  • 2. Develop potential ways of collaboration between relevant authorities and the National Society (Tracing service) to assist families in finding missing or deceased family members.
  • 3. Identify concrete channels of communications with the concerned families regarding the fate of their deceased family members.
  • 4. Develop protocols and gather best practices and tools to support families of deceased migrants across Europe.
  • Swiss Red Cross will continue to work on the issue of “dead migrants and information to their families” and participate in the exchange of best practices with the Swiss authorities and the Restoring Family Link network.


Complementary actions undertaken by both parties to support the same group of beneficiaries:


Switzerland (FDFA) engages in the development of policies and the strengthening of international cooperation in the area of missing migrants (dead and alive) for example by cooperating with and supporting the ICRC; the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) as well as IOM Global Data Analysis Center (IOM GMDAC).


Swiss Red Cross: In the past, The SRC Tracing Service had to deal with the extremely complex challenges of the war in the Ex-Yugoslavia. More recently, the experience of supporting the families of the victims of the shipwreck off Lampedusa on 3 October 2013 has shown that the process of identifying the missing is a very sensitive subject and specific resources are needed to respond adequately. Therefore a new Project “Ante Mortem data of missing migrants. Collection of ante-mortem data by the SRC Tracing Service” was started in August 2019. The project is aimed at individuals and families resident in Switzerland, searching for a family member who has gone missing while migrating. The main objective is offering families the opportunity to register ante mortem data of their missing members; forwarding these data to the competent entities and supporting families during the difficult process of discovering what has happened to their missing relatives. The project will last three and a half years (2018-2021). The first phase of the project was completed in spring 2019 with the staff training course on collecting ante-mortem data.


Implementation completion:

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