Posts Categorized: Press Releases

Thao Griffiths Joins ICMP Board of Commissioners  


The Hague, 29 December 2022: A Vietnamese citizen who continues to play a key role in US-Vietnam relations, in particular supporting reconciliation and healing after the war, Thao Griffiths has accepted an invitation to become a Commissioner of the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP). Ms. Griffiths will take up this position immediately.

“We are delighted that Thao Griffiths will join the Board,” ICMP Chair Thomas Miller said today. “She has extensive corporate and diplomatic experience and will make an invaluable contribution to ICMP’s efforts to help governments, including governments in Asia, address the issue of persons who have gone missing as a result of conflict, political instability, natural disasters and other causes.”

Since December 2021, Ms. Griffiths, has been Meta’s Public Policy Head for Vietnam. Before that, she served for nearly a decade as Country Director of the Vietnam Veterans of America Foundation, working at the organization’s Hanoi and Washington…

ICMP-Facilitated Policy Coordination Group Discuss Paper on Syrian Amnesty Decrees

The Hague, 9 December 2022: At its 11th meeting today, the Policy Coordination Group (PCG) discussed a paper on the failure of the Syrian amnesty decrees to address the issue of missing persons and detainees. The PCG is a Syrian-led initiative on the missing and disappeared, facilitated by the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP). Today’s meeting was held online under Chatham House rules.

The paper examines issues related to revealing the fate of missing persons and securing the release of detainees under amnesty decrees issued by the current authorities in Syria. It reflects the PCG’s refusal to accept any attempt under these decrees to deny accountability for perpetrators involved in violations against missing persons.

“These decrees have been abused in the past,” said one participant, “and they will simply be the basis for further human rights violations if they are used to pardon preparators. Amnesty can be a transitional justice measure to…

Syrian families residing in Europe provide data to support finding missing relatives from the war

The Hague, 2 December 2022 – The International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) has completed the second phase of a campaign to collect DNA reference samples from Syrian families living in Europe. The most recent campaign took place in Germany and the Netherlands between October and November 2022.

ICMP has collected data and received reports from more than 68,000 families representing more than 25,000 missing persons.  This data has been obtained voluntarily through reports to ICMP’s Online Inquiry Center (OIC) or through efforts to collect data directly from families of the missing with support from Syrian civil society organizations that work with ICMP.

The data collected includes information on where and when missing persons were last seen, and information about the circumstances of disappearance, including possible perpetrators. ICMP also collects genetic reference samples from families of the missing.  To date, ICMP has collected samples from 506 families of the missing living in…

Ensuring the Rights of Women Survivors To Justice, Truth and Reparations

Erbil, 25 November 2022 – Accounting for missing persons and victims of enforced disappearance “is an integral part of the effort to end violence against women,” Kathryne Bomberger, the Director-General of the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP), said today during a panel discussion facilitated by ICMP in Erbil. The discussion, held on the occasion of the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, brought together women survivors of missing persons, women-led households, women in leadership positions with the Iraqi authorities and women civil society activists.

“The gender aspect of disappearances must not be ignored,” Ms Bomberger said, and she highlighted challenges faced by women survivors and women-led households in Iraq when they attempt to claim their rights and access basic services.

“The state is obliged to conduct effective investigations into all missing persons – and the authorities in Iraq have made progress in fulfilling their obligations under national…

Підзвітність щодо зниклих безвісти є частиною глобальних зусиль з припинення насильства щодо жінок

Гаага, 25 листопада 2022 р.: Підзвітність щодо зниклих безвісти, у тому числі жертв насильницьких зникнень, є невід’ємною частиною глобальних зусиль із припинення насильства щодо жінок і захисту прав людини і основоположних свобод, сказала Кетрін Бомбергер, Генеральна директорка Міжнародної комісії з питань зниклих безвісти (МКЗБ) сьогодні. Пані Бомбергер зробила заяву з нагоди Міжнародного дня боротьби за ліквідацію насильства щодо жінок, який знаменує початок «16 днів активізму проти гендерно обумовленого насильства», глобальної кампанії ООН, яка триває до Дня прав людини 10 грудня.

«Під час конфлікту більшість тих, хто зникає безвісти, — чоловіки, а це означає, що жінки, які вижили, змушені вирішувати юридичні, соціальні та політичні проблеми, часто стикаючись з глибоко вкоріненими упередженнями», — сказала пані Бомбергер. «У той же час жінки стають особливими мішенями торговців людьми та зазнають дискримінації в інших контекстах проблеми зниклих безвісти: наприклад, на Заході зникнення чорних жінок, жінок із спільнот мігрантів, жінок з меншин і корінних громад часто…

Accounting for Missing Persons Is Part Of the Global Effort to End Violence against Women

The Hague, 25 November 2022: Accounting for missing persons, including victims of enforced disappearance is an integral part of the global effort to end violence against women and uphold fundamental human rights, the Director-General of the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP), Kathryne Bomberger, said today. Ms Bomberger was speaking on the occasion of International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, which marks the start of “16 Days of Activism against Gender-based Violence”, a UN-mandated global campaign that leads up to Human Rights Day on 10 December.

“In conflict, most of those who go missing are men, which means that women survivors have to address legal, social, and political challenges, often in the face of deeply-entrenched prejudice,” Ms Bomberger said. “At the same time, women are specifically targeted by people-traffickers, and experience discrimination in other missing persons contexts: for example, in the West, disappearances of women of color, women…

ICMP’s Online Inquiry Center Enhances Efforts To Account for Missing Persons in Nuevo Leon, Mexico

Monterrey, Nuevo Leon, 9 November 2022: The Office of the Prosecutor General in Nuevo Leon (FGJNL) and the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) launched a major new initiative today that can significantly enhance efforts to account for persons who have gone missing.

Working with the FGJNL, ICMP has customized its Spanish-language Online Inquiry Center (OIC) for the state of Nuevo Leon, making it fully accessible for families of missing persons and others, allowing users to report missing persons cases, follow the progress of individual investigations, and add information about cases as it becomes available.

Today’s launch is one of the results of a program undertaken between 1 January 2019 and 31 July 2022, implemented by ICMP and Citizens in Support of Human Rights (CADHAC) in cooperation with the FGJNL. The program was generously supported by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).

“Efforts to account for missing persons in…

Germany Supports Efforts to Find Missing and Disappeared Persons from the War in Ukraine

The Hague, 4 November 2022: Following a significant donation from Germany, the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) will further strengthen its partnership with Ukraine, to direct highly advanced operational capacities at Ukraine’s institutions that are responsible for accounting for thousands of missing persons. The award of roughly 2.5 million Euros annually over three years, and the secondment of personnel from the German Federal Police (BKA) to ICMP, will have a major impact on efforts to locate and identify all victims from the on-going war.

On 24 February 2022, Russia invaded Ukraine, escalating an armed conflict that began in 2014, when Russia annexed Crimea and pro-Russian separatists took control of eastern parts of Ukraine. In early April 2022, mass graves were discovered in Bucha, Irpin, and Makarivka, and in in September 2022 in Izyum and Lyman. As territory is de-occupied, more mass graves are expected to be found.

“Ukraine has well…

Western Balkans Governments Launch Unique Public Database of Missing Persons Cases

The Hague, 3 November 2022: As part of the Berlin Process, today in The Hague the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) and the Missing Persons Group (MPG), which comprises domestic institutions responsible for missing persons issues, from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Kosovo, Montenegro and Serbia, launched a Regional Database of active missing persons cases from conflicts on the territory of the former Yugoslavia.

The creation of this unique, interactive database means that up-to-date records are now publicly available at all times, and it enables families of the missing and others to review existing records and provide online feedback to domestic institutions.

“The creation of this public database is a striking example of regional cooperation: it reflects a commitment to providing factual information and de-politicizing the issue of missing persons,” ICMP Director-General Kathryne Bomberger said today.  “The Regional Database will serve as a model for countries in every part of…

US Ambassador to BIH Visits Project for Identifying Srebrenica Genocide Victims

Tuzla, Bosnia and Herzegovina, 26 October 2022: The meticulous process of identifying victims of the conflict in Bosnia and Herzegovina was the focus of a visit today by United States ambassador to Bosnia and Herzegovina Michael John Murphy to see the work of the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP).

At the Podrinje Identification Project, a facility established to assist with the identification of Srebrenica genocide victims, Ambassador Murphy, who was accompanied by the Deputy Head of ICMP’s Western Balkans Program, Samira Krehic, observed work by ICMP staff to assist Bosnia and Herzegovina in identifying persons missing from the conflict. The Podrinje Identification Project was established by ICMP in Tuzla in 1999 to ensure a dedicated process to identify the victims of the Srebrenica Genocide.

Using DNA-based identification methods, ICMP has assisted Bosnia and Herzegovina in the identification of the 75 percent of the 30,000 persons reported missing as a consequence…