Posts Categorized: Press Releases

Colombia’s Vibrant and Diverse Civil Society Organizations Play a Key Role in Supporting the Search for Missing Persons

By Angelica Aparicio and Laura Manrique

Bogota, 29 October 2020 – Civil society organizations (CSOs) and families of the missing are fundamental to Colombia’s efforts to account for missing persons and need support from national authorities and the international community to fulfil their important role.

That was the message delivered by speakers in online discussion hosted this month by the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) and the German Development Cooperation Agency (GIZ).

Discussions during the 13 October event  were based on a recent ICMP report that maps the work of Colombia’s vibrant and diverse civil society organizations, including family associations and other networks that support the Colombian Government in finding the more than 120,000 persons who are estimated missing from Colombia’s more than 50 years of conflict. The event was streamed live and is available on ICMP’s Spanish Facebook page.

The Director of Colombia’s Search Unit for Missing Persons (UBPD), Luz Marina Monzón, praised…

Government of Iraq Resumes Exhumation Activities; Opens Two New Yazidi Mass Graves from ISIL

Sinjar, Iraq 28 October 2020 — After pausing activities due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Iraqi authorities have resumed the exhumations of mass graves, with support from the United Nations Investigative Team to Promote Accountability for Crimes Committed by Da’esh/ISIL (UNITAD) and the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP), and in cooperation with the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and the Yazda Organization.

On Saturday (24/10) Iraqi experts from the Mass Graves Directorate (MGD), under the leadership of Mr. Dia’ Karim Sa’idi, and the Medico-Legal Directorate (MLD), under the leadership of Dr. Zeid Ali Abbas, started exhumations in the mass graves left by ISIL in Solagh and Kojo, Ninewa Governorate.

Representatives of the Government of Iraq, the National Coordination Committee (NCC), the Yazidi community, UNITAD, ICMP, and IOM were in attendance. Also attending were around 300 people, including many relatives of missing persons. The ceremony and operations were held under appropriate protection…

Western Balkans Regional Missing Persons Group Has Resolved 387 Missing Persons Cases Since July 2019

Belgrade 26 October 2020: Meeting in Belgrade last week, the Missing Persons Group (MPG), which brings together institutions that are responsible for addressing the issue of missing persons in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Kosovo, Montenegro and Serbia, adopted the MPG annual report, which notes that the group’s collective work has led to the identification of the remains of 387 persons who were missing from the conflicts in the former Yugoslavia.

The report, which covers July 2019 to November 2020, will be presented in the context of the Berlin Process summit later this year.

“Since July last year, the MPG has closed 387 missing persons cases, and each identification has been recorded in the Regional Database of active missing persons cases,” Matthew Holliday, the Head of the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP’s) Western Balkans Program, said at this week’s meeting. “This shows tangible progress despite the challenges the region is facing.”

In…

ICMP Assesses Libya’s Capacity to Address Missing Persons, With Dutch and U.S. Support

The Hague, 21 October 2020 – The International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) recently began assessing Libya’s institutional, legal and technical capacities to address the issue of disappeared and other missing persons in a project that aims to lay the foundations for a sustainable process to account for missing persons.

The assessment includes mapping of stakeholders, civil society organizations and families of the missing.

Libya has a legacy of persons missing from the Muammar Gaddafi era, including wars with neighboring countries, the conflicts of 2011, the ongoing so-called “Second Libyan Civil War,” which began in 2014, as well as cases of missing migrants and refugees.

The ICMP assessment includes a review of activities undertaken so far in relation to recently discovered mass graves in Tarhuna and elsewhere in Libya. The discovery of these graves underlines the need for effective investigations of missing persons cases that can lead to accountability.

Libya currently has limited…

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…

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…

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…

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…