Frequently Asked Questions
Common questions about the issue and about IFFAMPAC
What does IFFAMPAC stand for?
International Federation of Family Associations of Missing Persons from Armed Conflicts
What does IFFAMPAC do?
We unite family associations worldwide providing a global support network. We act as a link to other NGOs and governmental agencies to address the social, economic, and legal problems that surviving family members face post-conflict. We meet and negotiate with governmental officials to provide information on missing persons, and work on behalf of families to develop favorable national judicial reform to address the surviving family needs.
IFFAMPAC has written a new innovative, aggressive, and timely international convention creating a new human rights category. That category is called a unit- the family unit. As such we have given families a legal status under the law with rights. With legal rights come obligations for governments to follow and enforce. We seek the assistance of all NGOs globally to band together to lobby governments to become Contracting Parties to this convention and open the door to a new direction of human rights.
Doesn’t the UN or the Red Cross address family concerns?
Both of these organizations provide aid to large numbers of people after conflicts or catastrophes. IFFAMPAC's focus is different. IFFAMPAC is a federation comprised of the families themselves. Individual surviving families need help to stay together and rebuild their lives. Because these families are relatively dispersed, they do not attract the attention of major institutions. But the needs of the few are as great as the needs of many. IFFAMPAC represents these diverse families and makes their voice heard in a way which the large international operations simply cannot do. IFFAMPAC has one focus – the families who survive armed conflicts.
Is IFFAMPAC part of a government?
Not in any way. IFFAMPAC is a 501(c)(3) private charity.
Who are "The Missing" from armed conflicts?
Women, children, and men become missing for a variety of reasons. It happens during the day or night. Children walking home from school can step on a landmine, never to be seen again. A parent driving a car can hit a cluster munition, and never be seen again. You wave goodbye to your sister on a bus, and never see her again. People have accidents, or medical conditions where they cannot identify themselves, and are never seen again. Others go voluntarily into hiding to avoid prosecution, and are never seen again. Others are taken forcibly against their will and never seen again. Anyone in the wrong place at the wrong time can become a missing person – never to be seen again.
Why are family associations important?
How does IFFAMPAC work with family associations?
- family associations can advocate more effectively than individual families for reform and protection of the rights of all families within their own countries
- family associations promote self-help and social reconstruction with their focus on the family as a unit of resilience and strength
- family associations help to re-educate and retrain their members to pursue better economic and social opportunities
- family associations allow surviving family members to contribute in a meaningful way to their communities
IFFAMPAC's primary goal is to assist surviving families in their efforts to keep families together, and to request available information regarding the status of missing family members.
IFFAMPAC assists surviving family members to form or join family associations. Working in partnership with the family associations, IFFAMPAC seeks:
- answers to the fate or location of missing persons from responsible officials
- justice for the families of missing persons through legal reforms
- opportunities for open communication between global family associations
- long-term emotional healing for families through support mechanisms
- funding for projects that bring social, economic, legal, and/or cultural benefits to surviving family members
Why support IFFAMPAC?
Several excellent organizations provide services to help affected families, ranging from providing children’s medication to food and education. Quite naturally, these organizations analyze economic assistance from their specific point of view as the provider of specific support.
IFFAMPAC's focus is different. We do not provide material goods per se. Instead, we represent families and become their voice to the world. To do so, we listen carefully to the families to understand their needs and situations. This enables us to help them to help themselves by getting organized and working together, and by applying pressure on the authorities to negotiate on their behalf with governments. This approach gives us a unique understanding of the overall problems that families face and enables us to represent them effectively at forums such as the United Nations, international conferences with governments, agencies and NGOs.
The immediate support given by larger organizations is essential and appreciated. But our goal is different. We are aiming to change the rules. It’s the essential basis of any long-term solution for sustainable peace.