Pivotal vote in the European Parliament for missing persons and unidentified human remains could be a new beacon of hope for families and next of kin torn apart by uncertainty and loss.

AMBER Alert Europe Foundation – The upcoming vote on 4 December in the European Parliament on the Automated Data Exchange for Police Cooperation, commonly referred to as “Prüm II,” is a critical juncture for enhancing police cooperation and data exchange across the European Union. This amendment, targeting Council Decisions 2008/615/JHA and 2008/616/JHA and Regulations (EU) 2018/1726, 2019/817, and 2019/818, holds significant implications, especially in the context of missing persons and unidentified human remains.

Key aspects of Prüm II and how it impacts EU Citizens lives:

  1. Extent of Missing Persons in the EU: Data from 18 EU countries reveals a staggering number of over 300,000 people reported missing annually. These countries collectively have about 40,000 unresolved missing person cases. Additionally, 15,000 cases of unidentified bodies have been reported in 15 countries. It’s noteworthy that only a small fraction (1-4%) of these cases are related to criminal activities.
  2. Enhancing Police Cooperation: Prüm II proposes to extend the existing framework of police cooperation and data sharing. This expansion could significantly improve the capabilities of law enforcement agencies across the EU in tracing missing persons and identifying human remains, thereby safeguarding the right to life and identity.
  3. The Right to Life: The European Court of Human Rights has established the obligation of law enforcement to protect life. This includes a duty to protect individuals from threats and to safeguard the vulnerable. Prüm II aligns with this principle by potentially providing critical tools for law enforcement agencies to fulfil this obligation more effectively.
  4. Victims’ Rights and Family Trauma: The plight of families of missing persons is often marked by continuous trauma and victimization due to uncertainty. Enhancing police capabilities through Prüm II could bring much-needed closure to these families, respecting and protecting the rights of victims. Organizations like AMBER Alert Europe emphasize the importance of closure for victims’ families.
  5. Convention on Human Rights: The right to private life, as stipulated in Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights, includes the deceased. Ensuring the identification of missing persons and the deceased respects this right, providing closure not only to the individual’s fate but also to their families and friends.

Call for Action to Members of European Parliament: Vote in favour of including the search for missing persons and unidentified human remains in the Prüm II framework.

By doing so, the Parliament would significantly strengthen the protection and rights of missing persons across the EU. It would also address the ongoing victimization and suffering of families dealing with the uncertainty surrounding their missing or unidentified loved ones. The vote on Prüm II represents a vital opportunity to advance these crucial objectives, impacting thousands of lives across the European Union. The opportunity to do so should not be missed.