Posts Categorized: News

ICMP Welcomes Visitors During Hague International Open Day

The Hague, 23 September 2018 – The International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) welcomed visitors today at its headquarters in The Hague, the Netherlands, as part of the Hague International Open Day.

Director of Policy and Cooperation Andreas Kleiser, Director of Science and Technology Thomas Parsons, and Director of Data Systems and Coordination Adnan Rizvic briefed visitors on the development of ICMP’s international role since it was founded in 1996, and in particular since 2015 when it became a treaty-based organization and since 2016 when it moved its headquarters to The Hague.

The ICMP Agreement, signed by the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, Sweden, Belgium and Luxembourg in December 2014, mandates ICMP to secure the co-operation of governments and other authorities in locating persons missing as a result of armed conflicts, human rights abuses, natural and man-made disasters and other involuntary reasons and to assist them in doing so. ICMP supports the…

States Must Endeavour to Account for the Missing

30 August 2018: In an op-ed published on the occasion of the International Day of the Disappeared, the Director-General of the International Commission on Missing Persons, Kathryne Bomberger, has highlighted the close connection between accounting for the missing and upholding the rule of law.

Ms Bomberger notes that “governments have well recognized human rights obligations to investigate reports about missing persons and to establish the circumstances of their disappearance, and to do this without regard to nationality, ethnicity or other group characteristics.” She stresses that “no lesser investigative standard is justified based on whether a person goes missing in armed conflict, a maritime disaster or as a migrant fleeing pervasive lawlessness and abuse. Individuals may be traveling on forged documents, or with no documents at all; they may have paid a trafficker for passage in an unregistered vessel. These contraventions have no bearing on the obligations of states when people…

Baghdad Conference Addresses Multiple Aspects Of the Missing Persons Issue  

Baghdad, 30 August 2018: To mark International Day of the Disappeared, the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP), in cooperation with the Foundation for Art in Life, organized an event at the National Museum in Baghdad today, which was attended by more than a hundred participants representing almost all government ministries, as well as diplomatic missions and civil society.

Relatives of the missing gave powerful testimonies, describing the challenges that families face when a loved one is a victim of disappearance.

Accompanying the public discussion was an exhibition of art and videography on the theme of missing persons, created by artists from throughout Iraq and from different communities and ethnic groups, exploring the missing persons theme. During the event, the celebrated cellist, Karim Wasfi, played an original composition marking International Day of the Disappeared.

In their remarks, government officials agreed on the need for a proactive response to the issue of missing…

Iraq: Civil Society Organizations Accelerate Efforts to Account for the Missing

A key element in ICMP’s holistic approach to helping authorities around the world address the issue of missing persons is to ensure that families of the missing participate fully in the development and implementation of sustainable missing persons strategies. Survivors of missing persons do not seek information and justice and reparations as a favor or an indulgence from the authorities: they seek these things as a fundamental right, under law. This is a crucial point and one that should be brought to the fore on international Human Rights Day (10 December). In order to pursue successful missing persons strategies, families of the missing must assert their rights and government authorities must recognize and uphold those rights.

Ten of ICMP’s civil society partners in Iraq have issued a joint statement on the occasion of Human Rights Day. The NGOs, which are participating…

ICMP Participates in International Conference for Forensic Sciences and Forensic Medicine in Iraq

Baghdad, 6 December 2017: In Baghdad today, ICMP participated in the 2nd International Conference for Forensic Sciences and Forensic Medicine held in Baghdad, Iraq. The two-day event was organized by Al-Nahrain University and sponsored by the Ministry of Higher Education and Science Research of Iraq as well as the general Secretariat of the Imam Al-Husseini Holy Shrine. Aimed at unifying efforts among the relevant institutions in Iraq and neighboring countries, the conference brought together researchers and practitioners from universities and the government to discuss the latest development in forensic sciences and to identify areas of future research and professional training.

ICMP Iraq Program Deputy Head Fawaz Abdullabas presented the role and mandate of ICMP in Iraq while Training Coordinator and Deputy Quality Control and Quality Assurance Manager Sabina Taslam also presented.

About ICMP in Iraq

ICMP has worked with the authorities in Iraq…

ICMP Convenes Session of Working Group

Baghdad, 23 November 2017: In Baghdad today, ICMP convened a meeting of the Working Group on Data Processing and Protection, focusing on steps that can be taken by Iraqi stakeholders to improve the legal framework supporting efforts to account for the missing. The Working Group brings together representatives of ministries and other government agencies and institutions in Iraq that have a public mandate to address the issue of the missing.

Today’s meeting examined personal data processing in the context of Articles 19 and 20 of the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance (CED).

ICMP’s Director of Policy and Cooperation Andreas Kleiser presented internationally recognized principles relevant to efforts to investigate the whereabouts of the missing and the circumstances of their disappearance. He invited the group to meet again for further discussion of proposals for legislative reform that…

Justice and Rights for the Families of the Missing from Bosnia and Herzegovina

Kada Hotic from Srebrenica in eastern Bosnia, and Smilja Mitrovic from Bijeljina in the northeastern part of the country lost family members in the 1992-95 conflict. Their circumstances were different but for more than two decades, they have been engaged in the same struggle – to find out the fate of their loved ones and to secure justice for survivors.

Kada Hotic lost fifty members of her extended family in the Srebrenica Genocide, including her husband, her son, her two brothers and her brother-in-law.

Kada is the Vice President of the Mothers of Srebrenica Association. Dynamic and forthright, she says she became involved in the association as a way of coping with grief. “I’m working to ensure that what happened is not forgotten, and helping others too. While I have life, I will do everything in…

ICMP & Civil Society Organizations in Iraq Explore Missing Persons Strategies

Erbil, 25 October 2017: The Iraq Program of the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) organized a workshop today for civil society organizations that are working with ICMP to address the issue of missing persons in Iraq.

The workshop was held in Erbil and included participating organizations from Federal Iraq and the Kurdistan Region. The objective of the one-day event was to strengthen a network of civil society organizations to share information and work on missing persons campaigns and advocacy.

“We hope to grow this partnership and strengthen the ties among organizations concerned with the rights of families,” said Lena Larsson, the Head of ICMP’s Iraq Program. “We hope that after today, each of us will be able to leave with renewed energy to work for truth and justice for the many missing in Iraq.”

As many as one million people may have gone missing in Iraq as a result of political…

From Stockholm to Syria: Different Circumstances, Shared Experience of “Ambiguous Loss”

Muhanad Abulhusn is from the predominantly Druze city of As-Suwayda in southern Syria. He and his brother were detained incommunicado for extended periods by the Syrian regime. Ingrid Gudmundsson is a retired Mathematics teacher from Akersberga outside Stockholm. Her daughter and grand-daughter, and her former husband went missing in Thailand as a result of the December 2004 tsunami. Muhanad and Ingrid’s experiences overlap even though the circumstances in which they encountered the worldwide phenomenon of missing persons are entirely different.

This diversity of circumstances in which people go missing is reflected in ICMP’s mandate, which is to secure the cooperation of governments and others in locating and identifying missing persons from conflict, human rights abuses, disasters, organized crime, irregular migration and other causes. People whose loved ones go missing are confronted by different challenges. For example, when persons go missing in a natural disaster, relatives may suffer the “ambiguous loss”…

Brazil: ICMP Helps Identify Sao Paulo Mass Grave Victims

A leading forensic scientist and a representative of families of the missing have delivered DNA samples to ICMP’s laboratory system in September, inaugurating a program through which ICMP will help the authorities in Brazil in their efforts to identify the remains of people who were victims of enforced disappearance almost half a century ago.

 A Man on a Mission to Help Families of the Missing

Dr. Samuel Ferreira, the Scientific Coordinator of Brazil’s Special Commission on Political Deaths and Disappearances, calculates that in the last two years he has travelled roughly 44,000 kilometers in order to collect blood samples from family members of people who went missing during the 1964-1985 military dictatorship.

Dr Ferreira is the scientific coordinator of the Perus Working Group (PWG) which was established three years ago to identify bodies that were interred in a clandestine mass grave in the Dom Bosco Cemetery in Perus, Sao Paulo….