To mark the International Day of the Disappeared, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) together with Mariupol photographers presents a photo project When You Are Not Here.

It has been more than seven years since the beginning of the armed conflict in east Ukraine, and for the families of people who are missing, each day is like a lifetime. Out of 1,800 families that approached the ICRC to register their missing relatives, 800 families still have no information on whereabouts of their loved ones. They continue to live in uncertainty and face serious consequences, economical, legal and emotional.

The families of the missing feel exceedingly isolated from the society, and except in their narrow family circle, little is understood about their pain and loss. The families feel that their environment is often hesitant to approach them for many reasons. These could be the lack of understanding or the fear of hurting the families.

To address this issue, the ICRC invited young photographers from east Ukraine, from Mariupol, to convey their understanding and sympathy towards this grave loss. The key idea of the When You Are Not Here project is to show that emotions of anguish, uncertainty and loss are universal, and everyone can relate to them.

Read also: International Day of Disappeared: hundreds of families of the missing from the Donbas conflict still await news about their beloved ones