Germany is supporting an ICMP project to help the authorities in Colombia design and implement measures to account for missing persons. Under an agreement signed on Thursday by Germany’s Ambassador to The Netherlands, Dirk Brengelmann, and ICMP Director-General, Kathryne Bomberger, the German Government will provide funding for the initial assessment stages of ICMP’s Colombia program.
In this phase of the program, ICMP will examine the prospects for implementing measures to account for missing persons in Colombia following the 2 October referendum, in which voters narrowly rejected the current terms of a Peace Agreement between the Government of Colombia and the Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia–Ejército del Pueblo (FARC-EP) to end five decades of conflict. A new round of negotiations is now underway.
ICMP will also assess challenges in the process of setting up institutional measures to account for missing persons, analyze recommendations that have been put forward by national authorities, victims, civil society organizations and international organizations, and provide the relevant authorities with a roadmap of policy actions to implement these recommendations.
“ICMP has been working in Colombia since 2008 at the request of the authorities, and it has been specifically tasked under the Havana Accords with helping to implement a systematic and effective missing persons process based on the rule of law,” Director-General Bomberger said following the signing of the contract on Thursday. “We are grateful to the German government, as this grant will allow us to begin the next phase of what we believe will be a sustained and productive relationship with the authorities and with families of the missing in Colombia.”
“Germany is committed to supporting the peace process in Colombia, and ICMP’s role in this process is focused, specialized and very necessary. This is why we are supporting this project.” Ambassador Brengelmann said.
ICMP was created at the 1996 G-7 Summit to address the issue of persons missing as a consequence of the conflicts in the Western Balkans. It spearheaded an effort that made it possible to account for more than 70 percent of the 40,000 missing persons, including 7,000 of the 8,000 who went missing at Srebrenica in July 1995. Starting in 2004, it began working globally. In 2014, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, Belgium, Sweden and Luxembourg signed an international agreement establishing ICMP as an intergovernmental organization with headquarters in The Hague to respond to the global challenge of missing persons. Today ICMP is active throughout the world, exercising a mandate to secure the cooperation of governments and others in locating and identifying missing persons from conflict, migration, human rights abuses, disasters, crime and other causes, working with governments to establish legal frameworks, technical capacity and social consensus that makes it possible to launch and sustain effective strategies to account for the missing.