Missing persons and refugees-a new target for standardization

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Missing persons and refugees-a new target for standardization?

By Maria Lazarte, 19 September 2017

The article is written based on the ISO DEVCO (developing country matters) meeting which was a part of the ISO week in Germany, themed “Open Minded. Open for Change”, which took place in Berlin from 18 to 22 September 2017. It focuses on two major organizations; the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and the Lebanese foreign ministry.

Missing persons and the Red Cross. According to the chairman of the ICRC MoveAbility Board, Prof. Jurg Kesselring ISO standards are already used regularly in the work of ICRC. The standards help the ICRC improve efficiency and outreach. But Prof. Kesselring also believes there is more that can be done. He believes the ICRC could collaborate with ISO and its members to develop standards for the humanitarian field, especially in the area of missing persons. In his opinion people who go missing is still one of the most damaging humanitarian consequences of past wars. According to him it would involve reflecting on standards related to identification, collection, management and protection of relevant data, including big data, in addition to the dignified management of the dead and the processes related to identifying remains. He concludes that it cannot be done by one organization.

Lebanon and the refugees crisis. Ms. Alia Aoun, Senior Legal Advisor on Humanitarian Affairs at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Lebanon brought to light the fact that according to the United Nations Refugee Agency 84% of the world’s refugees are hosted by developing countries. She wanted the situation in Lebanon, that one out of every three persons living in Lebanon is displaced or a refugee, exposed. For Ms. Aoun, standardization would be a way of putting in place practical solutions that are reproducible and harmonized, which would help host countries in their response to many of the issues they face when helping refugees. She concluded that maybe they should aim for a combination of both existent approaches i.e. the Lebanon’s emergency refugee plan and the United Nations protocols and guidance already provided.