Monthly Archives: August 2016

Srebrenica 21 years on: another 127 victims buried


On 11 July, family members and friends gathered at the Memorial Center in Potocari to pay their respects and bury 127 of their loved ones whose remains were found in mass graves and identified with the assistance of the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP).

Since its inception in 1996, ICMP has been actively involved in the identification of the missing from Srebrenica; it played a key role in setting up the Potocari Memorial Center and it has worked continuously with families to help them find their loved ones and to ensure that they are able to assert their rights under the law.

The estimated number of persons missing as a result of the fall of the Srebrenica and Žepa UN Safe Areas in July 1995 is approximately 8,000. By analyzing DNA profiles extracted from post-mortem samples of exhumed remains and matching them to…

Profiles of the Missing

ICMP Studio Dijkgraaf-170

On the occasion of its 20th anniversary, the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) hosted a panel discussion with speakers from around the world who have lost loved ones as a result of conflict, human rights abuses, disasters and organized crime. Profiles of the Missing, which was opened by Deputy Mayor of The Hague Ingrid van Engelshoven and moderated by award-winning war correspondent Janine di Giovanni, was held on 8 July in The Hague.

The panel discussion addressed the multitude of reasons that persons go missing and explored strategies that families of the missing have developed in order to ensure that the authorities take all necessary steps to locate and identify their loved ones. Examining the emotional, social and political aspects of seeking truth, justice and reparation, the speakers were Ali Alillele from Syria, Ram Kumar Bhandari from Nepal, Norah Fuathum…

ICMP Opens Headquarters in The Hague


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On 7 July, as part of a series of events to mark the organization’s 20th anniversary, the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) formally opened its new headquarters at Koninginnegracht 12 in The Hague. Dutch Foreign Minister Bert Koenders, Mayor of The Hague Jozias van Aartsen, Her Majesty Queen Noor, ICMP Commission Chair Thomas Miller, , and Norah Fuatham from Uganda and Ram Kumar Bhandari from Nepal, representing associations of families of missing persons from around the world, spoke at the  opening ceremony.

The decision to establish headquarters in The Hague is part of ICMP’s long-term evolution, from an ad hoc, blue-ribbon commission established to address a specific component of post-war recovery in the Western Balkans to a treaty-based intergovernmental organization that works throughout the world.

ICMP was founded on 29 June 1996, at the initiative of US President Bill Clinton, to…

ICC and ICMP Sign MoU


On 7 July 2016, ICMP Chairman Thomas Miller and the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC), Fatou Bensouda, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on strengthening cooperation between the two organizations.

This is the latest in a series of agreements ICMP has reached with international organizations since its global mandate was established by Treaty in December 2014. In line with that mandate, ICMP is working with governments and other entities throughout the world to address the issue of missing persons, bringing its own expertise to bear in conjunction with the expertise of partner organizations.

Ms. Bensouda noted that ICC and ICMP “have a shared commitment to give a voice to the victims of mass atrocities” through their respective work. She said the MoU “marks an important step forward in the long-standing partnership between the ICC and ICMP.”

Ambassador Miller said “the MoU…

Daily World News Digest, 26 August 2016

Burundi: Rights group claims to have discovered at least 14 mass graves

The International Business Times reported on 25 August that a Burundian human rights organization has claimed to have identified at least 14 mass graves throughout Burundi. The current crisis that has killed up to 900 people in the country pits supporters of President Pierre Nkurunziza against those who say his re-election in July 2015 for a third term violated the constitution. “After a failed coup in May, the government intensified its crackdown and most of those arrested or missing are young men and women accused of participating in or supporting opposition groups,” the paper says.

Indonesia: 122 Mass Grave Location Already Found reported on 25 August that mass grave locations related to the events of 1965 in Indonesia are already known. Currently living disclosure efforts are yet to be done. In Jakarta on Thursday Chairman of the…

Daily World News Digest, 25 August 2016

Colombia and Farc rebels sign peace agreement

The BBC reports today that the Colombian government and the Farc rebel group have signed a historic peace accord, putting an end to more than five decades of conflict. Both sides have agreed to work together to address social exclusion, to deliver justice to the victims of the conflict and build a stable and enduring peace. The announcement was made in the Cuban capital, Havana, where peace talks were launched in November 2012. “The Colombian government and the Farc announce that we have reached a final, full and definitive accord,” they said in a joint statement.

Disappearances still a major issue

The Dawn newspaper carries a story today noting that on 30 August, the International Day for Victims of Enforced Disappearances, :the world will take stock of the progress or otherwise of efforts to end the outrage that enforced disappearances are”. It says…

Daily World News Digest, 24 August 2016

Search for earthquake survivors in central Italy

The BBC reports today that a magnitude 6.2 earthquake has struck central Italy, leaving at least 13 people dead and others trapped under rubble, Italian officials said. “Half the town is gone,” said the mayor of Amatrice, one of the worst areas affected. The quake hit at 01:36 GMT, 100km northeast of Rome. Officials warned the number of fatalities was likely to rise. The head of the civil protection department compared the earthquake’s intensity to Aquila in April 2009 in which 309 people died.

International migration increasingly unsafe in 2016: IOM

The International Organization for Migration (IOM) reported on 23 August that IOM’s Missing Migrants Project has recorded 23 percent more migrant deaths during the first half of 2016 compared with the same period in 2015. The data collected by the Missing Migrants Project indicate that the number of people who go missing or…

Daily World News Digest, 23 August 2016

Scotland’s First Minister visits Srebrenica

The Scotsman reported on 21 August that Scotland’s First Minister, was “deeply moved” after visiting Srebrenica to pay her respects to the thousands of men and boys killed in the 1995 genocide. The First Minister laid a wreath at the Srebrenica-Potocari Memorial cemetery in the east of Bosnia and Herzegovina and met the Mothers of Srebrenica Association. “Scotland has long-standing links with Bosnia and Herzegovina, providing support and assistance to those in need during the conflict of the 1990s,” she said. The report notes that Scottish scientists worked in Srebrenica helping to identify the remains in mass graves and later gave evidence at The Hague during the prosecution of war crimes and Scots have played a key role in the International Commission on Missing Persons formerly based in Bosnia.

Kashmir is living its worst nightmare in decades

Quartz India carries a story today on the continuing…

Daily World News Digest, 22 August 2016

Hundreds rescued from overcrowded migrant boats

Mirage News reported on 22 August that more than 300 people have been rescued from the Mediterranean after migrant boats capsized off the coast of Libya. One small vessel packed with 27 Syrians flipped over and sank, according to humanitarian group Migrant Offshore Aid Station. The bodies of two women and one man were recovered. Among the dead were two girls, aged eight months and five years. The survivors were taken to the Sicilian port of Trapani. Migrants from North Africa are favoring the dangerous voyage toward Italy after last year’s preferred route from Turkey to the Greek islands was largely shut down.

About 40 migrants enter Spanish enclave

StarTribune reported on 20 August that the Spanish government says about 40 sub-Saharan migrants have crossed into the Spanish border town of Melilla after climbing over the fence that separates the European enclave from Morocco…

Daily World News Digest, 19 August 2016

Enforced disappearance, torture and mass deaths in Syria

Amnesty International issued a report on 18 August detailing the horrifying experiences of detainees subjected to rampant torture and other ill-treatment in Syrian prisons. ‘It breaks the human’: Torture, disease and death in Syria’s prisons documents crimes against humanity committed by government forces. “The catalogue of horror stories featured in this report depicts in gruesome detail the dreadful abuse detainees routinely suffer from the moment of their arrest, through their interrogation and detention behind the closed doors of Syria’s notorious intelligence facilities,” said Philip Luther, Director of Amnesty International’s Middle East and North Africa Programme. The report highlights new statistics from the Human Rights Data Analysis Group (HRDAG), an organization that uses scientific approaches to analyse human rights violations, which indicate that 17,723 people died in custody across Syria between March 2011 when the crisis began and December 2015. This…