Yearly Archives: 2020

ICMP Donates Laptops to Colombian Civil Society Organizations to Support Their Work on Missing Persons

Bogota, 19 October 2020 – The International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) has donated 28 laptops to Colombian civil society organizations to support their crucial work on missing persons.

The donation to 26 organizations, concluded earlier this month, will enable the organizations to continue their advocacy and other work on missing persons despite distancing and isolation measures taken by Colombia in response to the Covid-19 pandemic. The donation, which also includes access to internet, was made with financial support from the European Union.

The recipient organizations are based in 12 departments, in most cases far from major cities. They will use the laptops to promote and strengthen the engagement and participation of families with missing relatives in the process to account for missing persons. The laptops also enable them to take part in activities organized by the Search Unit for Missing Persons (UBPD) and other state institutions.

Rocío Granja whose Family Association…

Online Discussion to Highlight Roles and Challenges of Colombian Civil Society Working on Missing Persons

Bogota, 13 October 2020 –The roles of and challenges faced by Colombian civil society organizations working on the issue of missing persons will be the focus of an online discussion hosted today by the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) and the German Development Cooperation Agency (GIZ).

The event, to be held in Spanish, will be streamed live on ICMP’s Spanish Facebook page starting at 2 p.m. Colombian time (19:00GMT). The discussion will be based on a recent ICMP report that maps data on the work of civil society organizations, including family associations and other networks, involved in the efforts to account for the more than 120,000 persons who are estimated missing from Colombia’s more than 50 years of conflict.

The publication, the first of its kind in Colombia, highlights the central role played by civil society in ensuring that the state fulfils its obligation to investigate all missing…

Action Needed Now for Syria’s Missing, Civil Society Organizations Say in New ICMP Report

The Hague, 7 October 2020 – A new International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) report that summarizes a year of policy discussions among Syrian civil society organizations (CSOs) and partners concludes that immediate action is needed to lay the groundwork for a future in which Syria’s missing can be accounted for.

The Syria Policy Process was facilitated by the ICMP and held under Chatham House rules from May 2019 to May 2020, provided a platform for Syrian CSOs and families to develop a shared vision on concrete measures that could be jointly undertaken to account for the missing.

Discussions at sessions held in The Hague, Istanbul and online – due to the Covid-19 pandemic – are summarized in the report, titled “Accounting for Missing Persons is an Investment in Peace: ICMP Syria Policy Process with Syrian Civil Society Organizations and Families of the Missing”.

About 100,000 persons are missing from the current…

Video: A Virtual Visit to ICMP HQ

The Hague, 6 October 2020 – A video recording of an open house held by the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) offers viewers insights into the organization’s work at its headquarters in The Hague, Netherlands.

The open house event, held 1 October 2020, was a part of Just Peace Month, an initiative by the city of the Hague to highlight the many organizations related to justice and peace that are based in the city.

The two-hour event features an introduction by Director-General Kathryne Bomberger, a webinar on ICMP’s support to families of the missing, and a virtual tour of the laboratory where ICMP scientists extract and analyze DNA.

ICMP works with governments to help them account for missing persons, including by offering support in advanced DNA analysis to identify human remains, and it works with families of the missing to help them access their rights to truth, justice and reparations….

Visit ICMP virtually on 1 October!

29 September 2020: On Thursday 1 October, the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) is inviting online visitors to a virtual open house that offers insights into the organization’s work at its headquarters in The Hague, Netherlands.

The virtual visit includes an introduction by Director-General Kathryne Bomberger, an interactive webinar on ICMP’s support to families of the missing, and a virtual tour of the laboratory where ICMP scientists extract and analyze DNA.

The event is part of Just Peace Month, an initiative by the city of the Hague to highlight the many organizations related to justice and peace that are based in the city.

ICMP works with governments to help them account for missing persons, including by offering support in advanced DNA analysis to identify human remains, and it works with families of the missing to help them access their rights to truth, justice and reparations. In the former Yugoslavia, the…

ICMP condemns rise in cases of missing and forcibly disappeared persons in Colombia

A message from families in eastern Colombia during a preparatory event for the act of acknowledgement of women and families searching for missing persons, held in August 2019 in Villavicencio. Photo: ICMP “Not one man, not one woman, not one step towards war, let impunity die. No more...”

29 September 2020, The Hague, the Netherlands: The International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) joins other international organizations and Colombian institutions, including the Unit for the Search of Missing Persons, in condemning the rise in cases of missing and disappeared persons, as well as the increase in attacks against civil society organizations working on the issue of missing persons in Colombia.

According to figures cited by the Unit for the Search of Missing Persons, more than 450 new cases of missing and disappeared persons have occurred since the signing of the 2016 Peace Agreement. The United Nations Verification Mission in Colombia had as of 26 June 2020 verified 15 disappearances of demobilized FARC-EP members that occurred after the peace agreement. The mission has also reported that ex-combatants and their families are being attacked across the country. In addition, the civil society organization Indepaz has recorded more than…

ICMP, with EU support, awards small grants to associations and organizations of families of missing persons in the Western Balkans

28 September 2020: The International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) has awarded 19 small grants with a combined worth of more than 70,000 euro to associations and organizations of families of missing persons and civil society organizations from the Western Balkans to support their participation in efforts to ensure the responsibility of the regional governments in accounting for those who remain missing from the conflicts in the former Yugoslavia.

The grants, financed by the European Union, will support projects conducted by organizations of families of missing persons in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Montenegro and Serbia over a 12-month period.

“With the EU’s financial and political support, ICMP will continue to help families of the missing to be engaged in the missing persons process and to advocate for securing their rights to justice, truth and reparations,” said the Head of ICMP’s Western Balkans Program, Matthew Holiday. “Funds from the EU and other…

ICMP Online Exhibit Showcases Material Created by Syrian Civil Society Organizations to Advocate for the Rights of Families of the Missing

An image from an advocacy film created by Syria Bright Future that is part of the exhibit. Photo: Syria Bright Future

By Yasmine Khalaf

11 September 2020 – An online exhibit featuring films, brochures and other material created by Syrian civil society organizations underlines the legal rights of families of the missing.

The 11 organizations created the materials using grants provided by the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) and financed by the European Union with the purpose of advancing the influence and independence of Civil Society in efforts to secure the rights of Syrian families with missing relatives. They use the material in their advocacy efforts, including to raise awareness among families of missing Syrians about their rights and their role in the search for the missing.

“The more vocal we are about the issue, the more others understand our suffering,” said Hala Al Ghawi, a physician who co-founded the organization Syria Bright Future, which created film about its work as part of the project. “Truth and justice will only be…

German €2 Million Grant Enables ICMP to Help Find Missing Persons in Iraq and Syria

A new €2 million grant from Germany will enable the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) to help find missing persons in Iraq and Syria.

The Hague, 2 September 2020 – A new €2 million grant from Germany will enable the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) to help find missing persons in Iraq and Syria.

“Germany has been a longstanding supporter of ICMP and its global programs. ICMP’s work in Iraq and in the context of Syria is key to upholding human rights and strengthening the rule of law, which is a cornerstone of Germany’s foreign policy,” said ICMP Director-General Kathryne Bomberger. “States are responsible for locating all missing persons, and for investigating the circumstances of their disappearance regardless of their ethnic, religious or national background.”

Germany’s Ambassador to the Netherlands, Dirk Brengelmann, added: “The ICMP is supporting governments to address the global issue of missing persons, providing unique technical assistance in situations all over the world. The loss of their loved ones caused by armed conflict, natural disasters or similar causes leads to immense…

ICMP DG on International Day of the Disappeared: End the Double Standard!

States are legally responsible for investigating missing persons cases, and they are responsible for securing the rights of all families of the missing to justice, truth and reparations.

The Hague, 28 August 2020: World leaders must end the double standard on missing persons, International Commission on Missing Persons Director-General Kathryne Bomberger said ahead of the International Day of the Disappeared, recognized worldwide on 30 August.

States are legally responsible for investigating missing persons cases, and they are responsible for securing the rights of all families of the missing to justice, truth and reparations. These rights are non-negotiable and certainly do not depend on the income level, nationality, skin color, gender, ethnicity or religion of the missing persons and their families. They are the rights of the poor as well as the rich, of minority groups as well as majority groups. And they are the rights of women as well as men.”

Ms. Bomberger said in an op-ed published today in the European Observer.

“With huge numbers of missing persons around the world – in Syria, in Iraq, in…