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Red Cross remembers Matija

Australian Red Cross honours the work of dedicated staff and volunteers in the Matija Barisic Oration.

Monday September 15, 2014

Australian Red Cross and the International Committee of the Red Cross ensure the remains of thousands missing people are returned to their families.

Almost 20 years on, anguished family members are still seeking answers about the fate of thousands of people who went missing during the conflict that ravaged Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Australian Red Cross, in collaboration with the International Committee of Red Cross (ICRC), has been working over the last two decades to gather information from families. It is hoped this information will help forensic experts in the former Yugoslavia identify some of the exhumed remains.

OnTuesday 16 September, Red Cross commemorates Matija Barisic, a former refugee who fled the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina and later worked with Australian Red Cross. Matija helped hundreds of families in Australia looking for information about the fate of their missing loved ones in the former Yugoslavia. In 2004, Matija took on a central role with ICRC's Ante Mortem Data Project , which collected information about missing persons from relatives and close friends in Victoria to send to forensic experts. These experts undertook the gruesome but vital task of identifying remains exhumed from mass graves. This work gave comfort to thousands of families who have since been able to put their loved ones to rest. The project is part of Red Cross' International Tracing Service which helps reduce the suffering of families around the world who are separated by finding lost loved ones, re-establishing contact, exchanging family news and clarifying the fate of the missing.

The Oration honours the work of staff and volunteers like Matija, who dedicate themselves and increasingly put their lives on the line to ease the suffering and improve the lives of those impacted by war, conflict, disaster and migration.

Grant Mitchell, Director at the International Detention Coalition, and Dr Phoebe Wynn-Pope, Director of International Humanitarian Law and Movement Relations at Australian Red Cross, will both give professional and personal insight into the impacts of current, global humanitarian challenges.

Matija Barisic Oration
Tuesday 16 September, 4pm for a 4:30 start, followed by refreshments.
The Auditorium, Melbourne City Conference Centre, 333 Swanston Street, Melbourne.
RSVP: this event is free, but RSVP by email essential for catering purposes.