31 August 2016: Today, to mark the International Day of the Disappeared, ICMP’s Iraq program has organized a social media campaign to light a million virtual candles representing missing persons in Iraq.
“Today is an important day throughout the world, but it’s especially important in Iraq,” said the Head of ICMP’s Iraq program Trefor Williams. “Up to one million persons are believed to have gone missing in Iraq in the last 40 years, more than in any other country in the world.”
ICMP has been engaged in Iraq since 2003, working with the authorities to strengthen operational and technical capacities, including providing training in mass grave exhumations, crime scene management, and mortuary procedures; providing guidance on effective operational planning, inter-agency cooperation and chain of custody; and upgrading mortuary facilities. ICMP has also worked with families of the missing to help them assert their right to the truth, to justice and to reparations.
Unfortunately, the number of missing persons in Iraq continues to grow. Sadly the majority of those that are missing are presumed to be dead.
“The International Day of the Disappeared is an opportunity for everyone to show solidarity with the families of missing persons,” Mr Williams said. “It is also an opportunity to strengthen our commitment to helping families come to terms with their loss by finding their loved ones and bringing them home so that they can have a proper burial and commemoration.”