ACT for the Disappeared (ACT) is a Lebanese human rights association founded in 2010 by a group of women activists. ACT’s mission is to provide answers for missing civil war victims’ families through collecting and preserving information about the missing and to foster a sustainable reconciliation process.
According to ACT’s research team, there are thousands missing individuals, mostly civilians, from all Lebanese communities and geographic areas. These individuals went missing in Lebanon during the 15 years of the civil war (1975-1990).
Today, more than 30 years after the end of the war, the relatives of the missing are still suffering. They are not able to mourn their loved ones until they know what happened to them. This suffering is a specific kind of loss termed ambiguous loss. Ambiguous loss occurs when there has been no closure or clear understanding of what happened – it is a loss that is unable to be processed. This kind of loss leaves family members searching for answers, and thus complicates and delays the process of grieving, often resulting in unresolved grief. Families need answers about the fate of their missing relatives and retrieval of remains in order to be able to give them a dignified burial.
ACT has been implementing a documentation process since 2014 that includes collecting information from the families such as the date and context of the disappearance, as well as stories about the disappeared member if the family wishes to share them. Additional information could be compiled from credible sources from the news and press. These same sources are also used to collect information about grave sites. All gathered information is saved and audited securely with limited access for ACT staff only.
New Tactics has mentored many campaigns in the Middle East, but hadn’t previously worked with a campaign that has such a strong emphasis on restorative rights for the missing and their families. Therefore, when this campaign was presented during the New Tactics Regional Training of Trainers in 2018 in Amman – Jordan, New Tactics was eager to support ACT.