The Hague, 8 April 2022 – The International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) convened this week an online coordination meeting between international organizations whose work is relevant to supporting Libya’s efforts to locate missing and disappeared persons from armed conflict, human rights abuses, migration and other circumstances.
The focus of the “Interagency Roundtable” is to support Libya’s efforts to create a sustainable missing persons strategy. The meeting follows the creation of a Libyan Expert Group on Missing and Disappeared Persons, which was launched in The Hague on 20 March 2022 with ICMP’s facilitation.
Speaking on Thursday at the roundtable meeting, ICMP Director-General Kathryne Bomberger said an effective missing persons process in Libya will benefit from the creation of a central record, enhanced cooperation between the relevant institutions, a program of capacity building, and a dedicated DNA workflow to find all missing persons, regardless of ethnic, national or religious background, whether they are Libyan or non-Libyan and regardless of the circumstances of their disappearance or any other factor.
“Libya has made progress since 2013 in laying the groundwork for a sustainable missing persons process that is based on the rule of law.” added Ms. Bomberger, “however, ensuring proper coordination between the relevant ministries and institutions is critical for the long-term. In addition, Libya has a shared responsibility with Europe to address the issue of dead and missing migrants in the Mediterranean.”
At the conclusion of the Inter-Agency meeting, participants agreed to meet regularly to address common challenges and share best practices to support Libya in this complex undertaking.
Participating organizations in the meeting included United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), International Organization for Migration (IOM) Libya, the Office of the Special Envoy for the Central Mediterranean at the United Nations High Commissioner office for Refugees (UNHCR), the European Union Border Assistance Mission in Libya, and the United Nation Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL).
In March, the newly-formed Libyan Expert Group on Missing and Disappeared Persons held its first meeting in The Hague with the support of ICMP. The meeting focused on steps that will strengthen the legal and institutional framework in Libya, enhance standards and procedures applied in investigations, strengthen forensic capacities, and enhance data privacy measures and work with families of the missing. Participants also discussed measures that are urgently needed to protect and investigate mass graves in and around Tarhuna. The Expert Group included representatives from the Ministry of Justice, the Ministry of Interior, the General Authority for the Search and Identification of Missing Persons (GASIMP), and other Libyan forensic, judicial and law enforcement experts.
The launch of the Interagency Roundtable is supported by the Government of the Netherlands.
ICMP is a treaty-based intergovernmental organization that seeks to ensure the cooperation of governments and others in locating missing persons from conflict, human rights abuses, disasters, organized crime, migration, and other causes, and to assist them in doing so. ICMP also supports the work of other organizations in their efforts, encourages public involvement in its activities and contributes to the development of appropriate expressions of commemoration and tribute to the missing.