18 November 2015: El Salvador today became the sixth country to sign the Agreement on the Status and Functions of the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP). In December 2014, the Agreement was signed by the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Sweden, Belgium and Luxembourg. It recognizes ICMP as an international organization tasked with assisting countries in their efforts to address missing persons cases from conflict, human rights abuses, disasters, organized crime, migration and other causes.
Today’s signing ceremony will facilitate ICMP’s capacity to work with the authorities in El Salvador, where, according to ICMP data, as many as 8,000 people are still missing from the conflict of the 1980s, and where today more than 2,000 people are recorded as missing as a result of gang violence.
In May 2012 ICMP hosted a workshop at its premises in Sarajevo for representatives from El Salvador’s judicial sector and civil society. ICMP is also taking part in a project with the Human Rights Center at the University of California, Berkeley School of Law and the Salvadorian organization Pro-Búsqueda de Niñas y Niños Desaparecidos. The project assists DNA-based investigations, kinship analysis and database informatics on missing children. In addition, ICMP has participated in consultations organized by El Salvador’s State Prosecutor and Supreme Court, on a ruling of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights in a case related to crimes perpetrated during the civil war.
“El Salvador is aware that disappearances, both, the past ones and those that happen today, challenge us to join forces, to cross borders, to build common lines and especially, in developing policy and action frameworks that assure effective prevention and institutional response.” said El Salvador Ambassador to the Netherlands Aida Luz Santos de Escobar.
“Tens of thousands of families around the world are struggling today with the misery of not knowing the fate of a loved one,” said ICMP Director-General Kathryne Bomberger. “Today’s accession by El Salvador points to the fact that there are ways of addressing this global challenge. I hope that more countries will sign in due course, and in this way contribute to a global effort to support justice and create space for hope.”
ICMP was created at the initiative of US President Bill Clinton in 1996 at the G-7 Summit in Lyon, France. It is the only international organization exclusively dedicated to helping governments and others account for those who go missing as a result of conflict, crime, migration, human rights violations and natural disasters.
For more information about ICMP’s work in El Salvador please visit http://bit.ly/1ObqR4s