The Foreign Minister of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, Bert Koenders, and the Director-General of the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP), Kathryne Bomberger, signed an Agreement in The Hague today establishing ICMP’s international headquarters in the Netherlands. The organization will be based in the City of The Hague.
The Host State Agreement with ICMP provides a strong basis for ICMP to enhance its cooperation with governments and others to address the global problem of missing persons from conflict, human rights abuses, disasters and other causes. In addition, ICMP’s new headquarters will allow it to work more closely with international courts to better secure the rights of survivors to truth and justice.
“The current migration crisis reminds us again of the importance of the work of ICMP,” Minister Koenders said at the signing ceremony. “Among the millions of refugees and migrants fleeing conflict or persecution, thousands go missing and among them are many vulnerable groups, including children. The Kingdom of the Netherlands has supported ICMP since it was first established in 1996 to address an earlier European crisis – the conflicts in the former Yugoslavia that ended 20 years ago. Since then, ICMP has successfully assisted many countries around the world. Dutch support has helped ICMP evolve into an organization with a global role and a global mandate.”
“The support of the Dutch Government has been instrumental in the development of ICMP and underscores the need for all governments to address a problem that affects every country in the world,” Director-General Bomberger said. “We are also grateful for the support of the city of The Hague. As ICMP moves its headquarters to the international city of peace and justice, we intend to augment our efforts to work with other organizations, including on initiatives to address the issue of missing migrants,” she added.
In December last year, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, Sweden, Belgium and Luxembourg signed a treaty establishing ICMP as an International Organization. This initiative was spearheaded by Mr. Frans Timmermans, the former Foreign Minister of The Netherlands. The treaty is open to accession by all states.
ICMP’s mandate is 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. As the only international organization exclusively dedicated to the issue of missing persons, ICMP has developed cross-cutting programs which include developing institutional, legal and technical capacities, encouraging the active participation of civil society, providing assistance to justice sector institutions, and maintaining a standing capacity for effective forensic assistance.
The full text of Director-General Bomberger’s remarks can be accessed at http://bit.ly/1iZSMcZ.