We have collaborated with a variety of institutions, including governments, the media, security forums and think tanks. Examples of our advocacy include:
When someone goes missing, their assets remain in limbo. Direct debits keep running, money may sit in a low-interest account, or worse still, monies needed to pay family bills cannot be accessed. This is as much a problem for the families of hostages and detainees as it is for the families of other missing people. By collaborating with the UK’s Office of the Public Guardian, we helped to ensure that procedures aimed at helping families of missing people to access and manage their loved one’s affairs were also available to the families of hostages and detainees. The relevant legislation is in the Guardian (Missing Persons) Act 2017 and UK families may wish to consult the Code of Practice (2019).
In 2014, graphic images of the murders of the hostages held by Islamic State in Syria were published by some news organisations and on social media platforms. This issue was widespread and caused unnecessary anguish to affected families. At the request of one family, our trustee, Phil Bigley, wrote an open letter to news editors urging them to remove the imagery. ‘An open letter to journalists: no more images of James Foley’s murder’ was published by The Guardian on 27 August 2014.
In 2017, we were invited to contribute to a round table discussion at the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI) about ransom policies in kidnap cases. The discussion helped to inform the paper Closing the Gap: Assessing Responses to Terrorist- Related Kidnap-for-Ransom.While Hostage International does not comment on the rights or wrongs of ransom policies, we highlighted the emotional difficulties that ransom policies pose for families experiencing the kidnap of their loved one.