The issue of state hostage taking has moved from the margins to center stage – thanks in large part to the heroic efforts of hostage families to raise awareness and hold their own politicians’ feet the fire in their work to bring hostages home.
It’s encouraging to see serious and influential think tanks like The Atlantic Council tackling this issue – seeking to raise awareness, increase understanding and search for answers and solutions.
I greatly enjoyed their event, Left Behind: Legal and policy paths for Iran’s hostages. You can watch it again via the link. Two hours of informed discussion from Ambassador Roger Carstens, Special Presidential Envoy for Hostage Affairs; Jason Rezaian, Washington Post journalist and former hostage; Richard Ratcliffe, husband of Nazanin Zaghari Ratcliffe who was held in Iran for over 5 years; Sarah Moriarty, daughter of hostage Bob Levinson; Nizar Zakka, former hostage; Carla Ferstman, legal scholar; and David Bowker, Jonathan Franks and Jared Genser who all work on behalf of hostages and their families.
As Ambassador Carstens said in his opening comments, “When you come to this problem, you’ve got to come with your heart.” As we look for ways to both bring hostages home and end this crime for good, we also need a lot of brain power. The more think tanks, academics and policy experts looking at this, the better.