Monthly Archives: February 2023

Canada Supports Efforts to Locate Missing and Disappeared Persons from the War in Ukraine

The Hague, 28 February 2023: – The International Commission on Missing Persons and the Government of Canada signed an agreement under which ICMP will support Ukraine in locating missing and disappeared persons following the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Global Affairs Canada will provide 1.8 million Canadian dollars (roughly 1,345,000 USD) for a one-year project.

The ongoing war in Ukraine has resulted in tens of thousands of missing and disappeared persons. Circumstances in which people go missing in Ukraine include forcible deportations, summary executions, incommunicado detention, kidnapping, abduction and family separation, including unlawful adoptions and trafficking in human beings. ICMP is working with the authorities to develop an effective long-term process to account for the missing and, where missing persons cases are a result of war crimes, to bring perpetrators to justice.

Lisa Helfand, Canada’s Ambassador to the Kingdom of the Netherlands, said Canadian support for ICMP in Ukraine, which will help…

ICMP Hosts Workshop on Use of Modern Forensic Genetics to Identify Distant Relatives from War in Vietnam

The Hague, 18 February 2023 – Tuesday, February 14, the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) welcomed a delegation of scientists and government officials from Vietnam for a workshop on the use of modern forensic genetics to identify people who went missing decades ago as a result of the war in Vietnam.

The Vietnamese delegation, led by Professor Dr. Chu Hoang Ha, Vice President of the Vietnam Academy of Science and Technology (VAST), included scientists from the Center for DNA Identification (part of VAST’s Institute of Biotechnology), and experts in the identification of war remains from relevant departments and ministries in Vietnam. International scientists represented at the workshop included Dr. Timothy McMahon, Director of the US Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory (AFDIL) and Dr. Charla Marshall, Head of AFDIL’s Emerging Technologies Section;  Dr. Tam Ngo, cultural anthropological researcher from the German Max Planck Society; ancient DNA specialist Dr. Elena Zavala, University…

ICMP to Help Survivors and Indigenous Communities In Canada Address Legacy of Residential Schools

The Hague, 17 February 2023: The International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP), which is an independent, treaty-based international organization, will provide support to Residential School Survivors and Indigenous communities in Canada to formulate next steps in addressing the issue of unmarked burials at Residential Schools. ICMP’s support follows a request for assistance by members of Canada’s Indigenous Community and a Technical Arrangement signed with the Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada (CIRNAC).

Tens of thousands of Indigenous children were removed from their families and sent to Residential Schools in the late 19th century and much of the 20th century. The schools, often characterized by an environment of systemic abuse, were predicated on eradicating Indigenous culture. Thousands of children died and went missing while attending these schools. Those that died were often buried in unofficial cemeteries or unmarked burial sites and their identities may be unknown.

ICMP will conduct information sessions and a…

Delegation of Vietnamese Officials, Scientists and International Forensic Geneticists Visit ICMP

The Hague, 14 February – This week, the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) welcomes a delegation from Vietnam led by Professor Dr. Chu Hoang Ha, Vice President of Vietnam Academy of Science and Technology (VAST) at its Headquarter in The Hague to take part in a series of events focused on modern forensic genetics and missing person identification in Vietnam. The delegation includes genetic researchers and experts in the identification of war remains from relevant departments and ministries in Vietnam.

“The sheer number of war remains to be identified – numbering hundreds of thousands – and the low quality of samples due to degradation over time and unfavorable burial environments requires state of the art DNA technology,” shared Prof. Dr. Chu Hoang Ha, describing the challenges faced by Vietnam on this issue. He underlined his appreciation of Senator Patrick Leahy and his Chief of Staff, Mr. Tim Rieser…