International Day commemorating air crash victims and their families

MONTRÉAL, 17 February 2022 –  Safety is a top priority for ICAO and remarkable progress has been achieved over decades of development of International Air Transport. Nevertheless, despite such advances, aircraft accidents remain a harsh reminder of our responsibility to the travelling public to do more.

ICAO, in cooperation with the Air Crash Victims' Families' Federation International (ACVFFI), has established 20 February as the International Day Commemorating Air Crash Victims and Their Families.

Mindful of the importance of providing proper assistance to victims’ families, ICAO has adopted Standards and Recommended Practices for national governments to implement so that timely and comprehensive information, care, and resources are provided to accident victims and their loved ones in post-accident circumstances.
“Respect for victims of civil aviation accidents, and the mental, physical and spiritual well-being of their families, are of paramount importance to ICAO, and with the help of the insights and appeals of the ACVFFI’s committed representatives, the ICAO Council has now helped to assure continuous advocacy and attention for these important global priorities,” commented ICAO Council President Salvatore Sciacchitano.

Apart from the work already undertaken through ICAO to address the needs of aircraft accident victims and their families through policies and recommended practices, ICAO is currently developing a Training Course to help countries set out appropriate family assistance legislation and plans. ICAO will also adopt new standards to place a more formal compliance obligation on States to develop effective victim support frameworks.

Last October, the Ministers participating at ICAO’s High-level Conference on COVID-19 addressed further calls to States and airlines to take action on victim assistance measures as a matter of priority, and in December of 2021 ICAO convened its first-ever international Symposium on Assistance to Aircraft Accident Victims and their Families, providing an important platform to enhance global cooperation toward their care and treatment.

“Throughout the past several years, ICAO has undertaken numerous initiatives to ensure that victim family assistance matters are adequately addressed,” stressed ICAO Secretary General Juan Carlos Salazar. “Aviation safety is something which everyone in this sector is very proud of, and the result of an incredible team effort between States and industry, but this same cooperation must now also be directed toward ensuring that the rights of accident victims and their families are assured in the aftermath of these very rare but also very tragic events.”  
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A specialized agency of the United Nations, ICAO was created by governments in 1944 to support their diplomacy on international air transport matters. Since that time, countries have adopted over 12,000 standards and practices through ICAO which help to align their national regulations relevant to aviation safety, security, efficiency, capacity and environmental protection, enabling a truly global network to be realized. ICAO forums also provide opportunities for advice and advocacy to be shared with government decision-makers by industry groups, civil society NGOs, and other officially-recognized air transport stakeholders.
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