IRRC No. 256

The National Information Bureau in Aid of the Victims of Armed Conflicts

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War separates families; it separates prisoners of war from the Power on which they depend and civilians from their country of origin or residence. Uncertainty about what has happened to a loved one who is missing on the battlefield or in enemy-controlled territory is much more difficult to bear than the news that he has been captured and interned by the enemy, or sometimes even that he is dead. Moreover, registering a captured person helps to protect him. The provisions for obtaining, collating and transmitting this type of information are a major step forward in international humanitarian law. The National Information Bureau (hereinafter NIB) plays a key role in the system laid down for this purpose by the 1949 Geneva Conventions. The NIB has the important but difficult task of obtaining and transmitting information on protected persons of the adverse party who are in the hands of the party to the conflict to which the NIB belongs.

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