Yearly Archives: 2020

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…

ICMP Announces Publication of Mapping Report on the Missing Persons Work of Colombia´s Civil Society Organizations, and Families of the Missing

The publication highlights the central role played by civil society in ensuring that the state fulfils its obligation to investigate all missing persons cases, regardless of the timeframe or circumstance of their disappearance

Bogota, 27 August 2020: The achievements and challenges of more than 100 associations of families of the missing in Colombia, and other civil society organizations that are working on the country’s enormous missing persons challenge are detailed in a mapping report released by the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) today.

The publication, the first of its kind for Colombia, compiles ICMP data on the work of civil society organizations, including family associations of missing persons and other networks that are involved in the arduous effort to account for the more than 120,000 persons who are estimated missing from Colombia’s more than 50 years of conflict. It was launched as part of ICMP’s activities to commemorate the International Day of the Disappeared, observed globally on 30 August.

“This mapping acknowledges and appreciates the persistence and driving force that families of missing persons provide to national actors and members of the…

From Bosnian Families of the Missing to Syrian Families of the Missing: Don’t Give Up on Demanding your Rights!

 

25 August 2020: In an online exchange organized by the International Commission on Missing Persons, families of the missing from Bosnia and Herzegovina and from Syria shared experiences of their fights for justice and effective investigations into the whereabouts of their missing loved ones and the circumstances of their disappearances. Families in Bosnia and Herzegovina, where the ICMP has helped identify more than 70 percent of the 30,000 who went missing in the 1990s war, urged their Syrian counterparts to persevere in securing rights and underlined the importance of a secure central record that collects all information on all missing persons. ICMP presents a short film titled Journey in Pursuit of Truth and Freedom documenting the exchange as part of activities to commemorate the 2020 International Day of the Disappeared.

Colombia: Civil Society Organizations Begin Adding Missing Person Data to Pilot Repository

Colombian civil society representatives and ICMP staff during an online meeting focused on data governance and information sharing.

By Laura Manrique

Bogota, 14 August 2020: Six civil society organizations that cooperate with the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) in Colombia have agreed to take part in the creation of a pilot central data repository for information related to missing persons in Colombia, a key step that enables the organizations to strengthen their data collection processes and to ensure that they do not duplicate efforts.

All of the participating organizations – Funvides (Bogotá), Credhos (Barrancabermeja), Poderpaz (Cúcuta), CDR (Cali), Favidesc (Florencia) and Madres de la Candelaria (Medellín) – have been using ICMP Identification Data Management System (iDMS) to handle the data they have collected in a responsible, transparent, safe, effective and efficient way. Their participation in the pilot enables them to share information with each other, allowing for a more efficient data management process.

The organizations agreed to take part in the pilot during an ICMP meeting focused on data…

ICMP Signs Cooperation Agreements with Iraqi Institutions to Continue Support in Finding All Missing Persons

Zaid Ali Abbas, the Director General of Medico Legal Directorate of the Ministry of Health; Diaa Karim, Director General the Mass Grave Affairs and Protection Directorate of the Martyr’s Foundation, and Fawaz Abdulabbas, deputy head of ICMP in Iraq, sign cooperation agreements on 12 August 2020. Standing behind them are Health Minister Hassan Al-Tamimi, First Deputy Speaker Hassan Al Kabbai and the Head of Martyr’s Foundation, Kadem Awaid, who attended the ceremony to underline their support.

BAGDHAD 13 August 2020: The International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) this week signed cooperation agreements with the Mass Grave Affairs and Protection Directorate of the Martyr’s Foundation and the Medico Legal Directorate of the Ministry of Health and Environment, adding to an agreement signed with the Ministry of Justice in late July.

“The agreements affirm and strengthen our cooperation with ICMP,” said Hassan Al Kabbai, First Deputy Speaker in Iraq’s Parliament, who hosted the 12 August signing ceremony. “We look forward to the results our closer cooperation will bring – I will follow developments closely.”

ICMP Director-General Kathryne Bomberger said:

“The agreements form the basis of ICMP’s continued to support to Iraq in developing and implementing a sustainable strategy to account for all Iraq’s missing and disappeared persons in an impartial and transparent manner.”

Iraqi authorities estimate that 250,000 to 1 million persons are missing in the country. ICMP has worked with…