The Hague, 15 March 2022: ICMP has presented a series of three training sessions to civil society organizations (CSOs) and families of the missing in Northeast Syria. The training, which concluded yesterday, introduced scientific methods to facilitate the location and identification of missing persons, with a focus on forensic processes and safeguarding forensic evidence.
The 60 participants learned about the role of families and CSOs in finding and reporting mass graves, familiarization with ICMP’s Online Inquiry Center, safeguarding mass graves, and risk assessments when safeguarding mass graves. Participants applied knowledge gained during the training by using the Carana missing persons simulation developed by ICMP.
“The role of families is central in an effective missing persons process,” said the Head of ICMP’s Syria/MENA Program, Lena Alhusseini. “Families must be actively engaged in securing their rights to justice, truth and reparations, and the work we have been doing through these courses is designed to enable more and more families to carry out this role.”
The training is part of ICMP’s broader effort to address the issue of missing persons in the context of the Syria conflict and along migration routes. ICMP’s global experience confirms that a centralized data repository that includes all missing persons cases is key to a successful missing persons process. ICMP is working with Syrian families and CSOs to collect and store data on missing persons in its secure Integrated Data Management System (iDMS), which has helped account for tens of thousands of people globally thus far.
New guidance on investigating and protecting mass graves was recently published by Bournemouth University in partnership with ICMP. The Bournemouth Protocol aims to improve practice in relation to safeguarding and investigating mass graves.
Estimates cited by the United Nations in 2021 indicate that more than 130,000 persons are missing as a result of the current situation in Syria. Human remains are continuously being discovered in numerous sites affected by the conflict.
The training was funded by the United Kingdom as part of its ongoing support to ICMP’s Syria/MENA program.
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.