Monthly Archives: June 2015

Preparing a Missing Persons Strategy for Libya

Libyan lawyers and other stakeholders meeting at a seminar in Istanbul on 11-12 May called on the parties preparing a national dialogue in Libya to make a formal commitment not only to work towards disclosing the fate of missing persons but to conduct investigations and also to safeguard the rights of families.

Legal experts, civil society activists and government representatives were participating in a seminar on “criminal procedure and the use of evidence in court-led processes on mass graves and missing persons in Libya”, organized by ICMP to help stakeholders develop a legal framework through which the missing persons issue can be addressed when the operating environment in the country stabilizes.

Fadeel Mohammed Atayeb Lameen, Chairman of the Libyan National Dialogue Preparatory Commission, welcomed the seminar’s recommendation highlighting the authorities’ obligations in the field of missing persons. “I think this will be useful to all those who are engaged in the…

Review of Unidentified Remains in BiH Mortuaries

At the end of May, a team of experts working under the jurisdiction of the Central Bosnia Canton Prosecutor’s Office began the process of case review and anthropological analysis of unidentified remains associated with Travnik mortuary. Relevant authorities in Bosnia and Herzegovina at every level are conducting a thorough review of all 12 mortuaries in the country to establish why a large number of bone samples sent for testing do not match the genetic profiles of nearly 9,000 complete sets of reference samples provided by more than 27,000 family members with missing relatives.

At the end of 2012 the Missing Persons Institute determined that there were 3,279 cases of human remains in mortuaries across Bosnia and Herzegovina that had the status of NN, that is, they were unidentified. Since June 2013 the NN Working Group has reviewed nearly 1,300 NN cases in the mortuaries at Sutina,…

Memorialization in Mexico

Danielle House examines creative and effective methods of memorialization in Mexico that address a variety of live issues related to enforced disappearance

On 26 September 2014, students from the Ayotzinapa teacher training college in Guerrero, Southern Mexico, were attacked by municipal police. Three students and three bystanders were killed, 25 were wounded, and a further 43 were forced into police trucks. The 43, however, were not taken to a police station and there was no record of their arrest; they disappeared.

The Procuraduría General de la República (PGR, Mexico’s Office of the Attorney General) has since declared the ‘historic truth’ of the event: the Mayor of the local town, Iguala, ordered the police to attack the students, to prevent them from disrupting an event his wife was hosting that evening. The police handed the students over to local cartel members, who then killed the students and disposed of their bodies.

Global Missing Persons Trends

ICMP’s Daily World News Digest  brings together news stories dealing with enforced disappearances and missing persons cases from around the world. It offers a snapshot of daily events and over a longer period it highlights key trends.

Southeast Asia

Throughout the month of May, dramatic reports from Southeast Asia highlighted the plight of migrants from Bangladesh and Myanmar attempting to reach Malaysia and Indonesia. Tens of thousands have made the journey south, and large numbers have died en route, through drowning or at the hands of people traffickers often with the collusion of corrupt bureaucrats and police. Thousands of Bangladeshi migrants follow the route south and east in search of work. In 2014, the number of people leaving Myanmar and Bangladesh by boat is estimated to have climbed to around 53,000. Some 920 migrants are known to have perished in the Bay of Bengal between September 2014 and…

A Million Reasons not to Make Peace in Iraq

When troops loyal to the government in Baghdad retook Tikrit in April, they discovered hundreds of bodies buried in mass graves near the River Tigris; hundreds more victims of Islamic State are believed to have been dumped in the river. This episode is just one piece in a blood-soaked mosaic: half a century of dictatorship and conflict have resulted in reports that there are up to one million missing persons in Iraq.

Speakers at conferences organized by the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) in Baghdad and Erbil at the end of April and the beginning of May stressed the need to gather precise statistics as a preliminary step in tackling this issue, but one participant from an Iraqi women’s group summed up the nature and scale of the problem when she described missing persons as “the biggest and the oldest crisis facing our nation”.

ICMP has been addressing the issue…

ICMP at the WILPF 2015 Conference

From 27 to 29 April, ICMP participated at the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF) international conference on “Women’s Power to Stop War”, in The Hague, the Netherlands. The conference was organized to mark the centennial of the establishment of WILPF, when in 1915 more than 1,300 women came together in The Hague in an effort to stop the violence of World War One and establish the principles of permanent peace.

The three-day conference, organized by WILPF and over 40 other civil society organizations, comprised five plenary sessions and more than 47 smaller sessions, including workshops, panels, testimonials, films and regional meetings. A range of subjects were discussed, including the current alarming world trend in militarization, issues related to women and conflict, ideas of masculinities and the need to engage men and boys in gender equality, peace and social justice; fighting impunity in regard to sexual violence in…