THE British Red Cross has launched a creative writing competition to commemorate people who have gone missing throughout the world in situations of violence and armed conflict.
This comes as the Red Cross marks this year’s International Day of the Disappeared on Tuesday 30 August 2011, with a series of events to be held across the country.
The nationwide writing competition – on the theme of ‘The Disappeared’ – will take entries in various literary genres including poetry, prose, comic strips and short stories. Compositions must be original and must be submitted by 30 August.
The winner will receive a £50 cash prize and a £50 book voucher.
Nev Jefferies, head of international tracing and message services, said: “We are excited about this competition and looking forward to receiving many entries. A compendium of the top entries will be compiled and later published as a book, which all authors of published entries will receive for free.
The day presents a stark reminder that thousands of families across the world are still unaware of the fate of family members missing through conflict.
“We traced 400 people last year, and we’re currently trying to trace the relatives of 1,252 families from countries all across the world, including Afghanistan, Eritrea and Somalia,” Nev said.
“While it’s hard to imagine what another year of waiting for news and resolution means to the families of the disappeared, this is a time for the Red Cross to show solidarity with them,” he explained.
The International Day of the Disappeared on 30 August is a United Nations-recognised annual commemoration day for individuals who have gone missing in armed conflicts or other situations of violence and whose fate is unresolved.
At events across the country, the Red Cross will hand out ‘forget-me-not’ flower-shaped bookmarks in memory of those who are still missing.
For more information please visit www.redcross.org.uk/dayofthedisappeared