Erbil, 25 May 2023 – Today, on International Missing Children’s Day, the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) joined the Halabja Chemical Attack Victims Association for a commemorative event. This brought together families to honor the memory of their loved ones who went missing during the attack on the city of Halabja in 1988 with chemical weapons. The families also had the opportunity to meet with members of the Committee on the Fate of Missing Children of Halabja established by the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG), and Members of Parliament from the Kurdistan Region to discuss the work of the Committee in fostering collaboration between all stakeholders.
“During the chemical attack on Halabja city on March 16, 1988, more than 400 children went missing. Families of the missing children in Halabja place their hope in the efforts of KRG’s newly established committee to clarify the fate of their loved ones and reunite them with their families.” said Mr. Luqman Abdulqadir, Head of Halabja Chemical Attack Victims Association.
“On the International Day for Missing Children, we reiterate our commitment to assisting Iraq create an effective mechanism to account for all missing persons, including children, regardless of the circumstances and time of their disappearance,” said Alexander Hug, Head of ICMP’s Iraq Program.
The Iraqi Government estimates that between 250,000 and one million people are missing in Iraq due to conflict and human rights violations. ICMP has trained hundreds of Iraqi personnel on techniques related to DNA identification, data processing and anthropology since it began working with Iraqi institutions in 2005. In collaboration with ICMP, the Directorate for Protection and Affairs of Mass Graves and the Medical Legal Directorate have begun to use a customized version of the Integrated Data Management System (iDMS) to collect, analyze, share and otherwise process information. ICMP is also working closely with families of the missing and civil society organizations on building their capacity to contribute to processes to account for their loved ones in Iraq.
ICMP’s support for this event was made possible through funding provided 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.