Madeleine Albright: An Inspiration To Women Who Organize and Campaign for Justice

Photo: United States Department of State

The Hague, 25 March 2022: – The Chair of the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP), Ambassador Thomas Miller, paid tribute today to the former US Secretary of State, Madeleine Albright, who died this week at the age of 84.

“Secretary Albright’s remarkable life, beginning with exile from Czechoslovakia to escape Nazi and then Communist persecution, sustained a commitment to principled leadership,” Ambassador Miller said, noting that “several of my fellow Commissioners either worked with or for Secretary Albright and can personally attest to her tenacity, integrity, warmth, and friendship.”

Ambassador Miller said that this principled leadership was at the heart of US support for ICMP when in the late 1990s it began to develop an effective model to help governments account for missing persons from disasters, conflicts and other causes.

ICMP was established just months before Madeleine Albright’s appointment as Secretary of State, and during her tenure, which saw the countries of former Yugoslavia address the huge challenges of post-conflict recovery and transitional justice, ICMP argued successfully that accounting for the missing was a fundamental element in establishing and maintaining peace. To date, 75 percent of the 40,000 people who went missing as a result of the conflicts in the former Yugoslavia have been accounted for. ICMP now works all over the world.

ICMP Director-General Kathryne Bomberger said Albright’s solidarity with women who have struggled against the odds was an inspiration. “In conflict a majority of those who go missing are men, which means that huge numbers of survivor households are led by women. These women often have to fend for their families in circumstances where, in addition to the many problems experienced in society’s riven by conflict, female-led households are viewed as an anomaly. In ICMP’s work we have seen time and again that women will come together to pursue truth about the fate of the missing and to secure justice for survivors. Secretary Albright was keenly attuned to the power of women who organize and campaign for justice. This is needed today as much as at any time in recent history.”

Ambassador Miller and Director-General Bomberger expressed condolences to Secretary Albright’s family on behalf of the Commissioners of ICMP.