OECD Designates ICMP as Fully ODA-Eligible

The Hague, 16 September 2021 – On 31 August 2021, the 30 members of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development’s (OECD) Development Assistance Committee (DAC) unanimously approved the inclusion of the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) in the list of multilateral organizations which can receive funding under Official Development Assistance (ODA) programs.

ODA is government aid designed to promote the economic growth of developing countries and may be provided bilaterally or channeled through the United Nations or other multilateral organizations approved by the DAC. Donors can now report their funding for ICMP, including funding for ICMP’s Headquarter-based Main Program, as ODA. Funding for ICMP, including its Main Program, will count towards donors’ overall targets for annual official government aid and will no longer be classified as being outside the donor’s overall ODA targets. ODA-eligibility removes a significant impediment to making ICMP’s Main Program, which includes specialized, centralized capabilities…

Germany’s Support Enables ICMP To Implement Its Global Mandate

The Hague, 16 September 2021 – The new German Ambassador to the Netherlands, H.E. Cyrill Nunn, visited the Headquarters of the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) in The Hague today.

Germany has been a long-time supporter of ICMP and in May this year Germany acceded to the Agreement on the Status and Functions of the ICMP, becoming the Treaty’s ninth State Party.

Speaking during his visit, Ambassador Nunn noted that “ICMP’s programs around the world, including those related to missing persons from the conflicts in Iraq and Syria, contribute to multilateral efforts to stabilize volatile countries and support peace-building.”

ICMP Director-General Kathryne Bomberger said Germany’s support for ICMP’s programs, at Headquarters and globally, has enabled the organization to implement its mandate effectively. “Germany has been a key partner in our work to ensure that States uphold their responsibility to locate all missing persons and investigate the circumstances of their disappearance regardless of…

Prime Minister Kurti and ICMP Director-General Bomberger Discuss Process of Accounting for Missing from Kosovo Conflict

ICMP Director General Kathryne Bomberger and Kosovo Prime Minister Albin Kurti

Pristina, Kosovo: 6 September 2021 – Kathryne Bomberger, the Director-General of the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP), and Kosovo Prime Minister Albin Kurti met today in Pristina to discuss ways of expediting the process of accounting for more than 1,600 persons still missing from the Kosovo conflict.

Measures discussed include enhancing regional cooperation through the Missing Persons Group, and undertaking a thorough review of the technical process conducted in Kosovo over the last two decades.

Prime Minister Kurti thanked Mrs. Bomberger and her colleagues for their maximum commitment to the issue of enforced disappearances, an issue that is essential for the Government of the Republic of Kosovo and requires immediate address. He stressed the commitment of the Government to regulate the issue of pensions for the families of the missing.

Ms Bomberger noted that while the issue of missing persons had been a reserve power of the European Union Rule of Law Mission in Kosovo (EULEX)…

Iraqi Authorities Conclude Strategic Meeting on Accounting for the Missing With Broad Consensus on the Way Forward

The Hague, 1 September 2021 – Iraqi government institutions today concluded a three-day strategic meeting in The Hague titled, “Missing Persons in Iraq: The Way Forward”.  The meeting hosted by the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP), a treaty-based intergovernmental organization, included senior representatives from Iraqi and Kurdish ministries, foundations and parliament whose work is relevant to finding the missing.  The first day of the conference coincided with the International Day of the Disappeared.

“This meeting concluded with broad consensus on a five-year strategy that would result in enhancing Iraqi efforts to find all missing persons, regardless of their sectarian or national background and the timeframe or circumstances of their disappearance,” ICMP Director-General Kathryne Bomberger said today.

Hassan Al-Kaabi, who is the First Deputy Speaker of the Iraqi Parliament and who led the delegation, expressed his quest to secure adequate funding from the state budget for a comprehensive five-year strategy. “ICMP…

The Policy Coordination Group Launches an Ethical Charter On Data Collection and Documentation of Syria’s Missing  

The Hague, 30 August 2021 – The Policy Coordination Group (PCG) for Syria’s Missing and Disappeared Persons, with the support of the Syria/MENA Program of the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP), published an Ethical Charter on the standards and codes of conduct to be followed during data collection and documentation of missing persons in a virtual event today.

The Ethical Charter prioritizes the rights of victims and advances a rights-based approach to accounting for missing persons. It stipulates that data must be processed according to clearly stated legal provisions, while maintaining confidentiality, transparency, neutrality and non-discrimination. The principles outlined in the Ethical Charter apply to all forms of data and evidence, from oral testimonies to the handling of human remains exhumed from mass and clandestine graves. It also establishes a set of principles to guide data collection and documentation and support best practices. Some of these principles are already…

International Day of the Disappeared: ICMP and Iraqi Partners Launch Strategic Policy Event

The Hague, 30 August 2021 – The International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP), together with Iraqi partners, today launched a strategic policy meeting on “Missing Persons in Iraq: The Way Forward”. The objective of the three-day meeting, initiated on the occasion of the International Day of the Disappeared, is to enhance Iraqi efforts to account for all missing persons, regardless of sectarian, or national background or the time period, location, or circumstances of their disappearance.

“This meeting in The Hague brings together government representatives from across Iraq, including representatives from ministries and institutions that have particular responsibility for this issue. The object is to develop a joint strategy to account for missing persons and to secure the rights of all families of the missing,” ICMP Director-General Kathryne Bomberger said at the opening of today’s meeting.

The event will focus on a multi-pronged strategy that includes the creation of a centralized Iraqi…

International Day of the Disappeared: ICMP Published a Practical Guide for Families of the Missing in the Western Balkans

30 August 2021: On the occasion of the International Day of the Disappeared, ICMP, with UK support, has published a Q&A topical guide for families of the missing in the Western Balkans. The guide Resolving the Missing Persons Issue in the Western Balkans is available in all languages of the Western Balkans countries in a reader-friendly format.

The guide explains practices and principles applied in the countries of the former Yugoslavia in their efforts to account for persons missing as a result of the 1990s conflict. It is the product of many years of first-hand experience on the part of ICMP staff, and intensive communication with families of the missing, scientists, scholars, researchers and professionals from domestic institutions.

The purpose of the Guide is to provide accurate information to families of the missing and the citizens. It details processes that involve numerous institutions in the fields of justice, internal and…

Global Report on Missing Persons: Key Challenges & Strategic Opportunities

The Hague, 27 August 2021 – The first edition of the Global Report on Missing persons, published today, ahead of the International Day of the Disappeared, examines why increasing numbers of people are going missing around the world, why many remain missing, and the policies that governments and others can implement in order to address this issue in effective ways.

Published by the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) with the support of the United Kingdom, the Global Report brings together the work of distinguished academics and practitioners to explore key challenges and strategic opportunities in the global effort to account for large numbers of missing persons.

The first edition of the Global Report examines the issue of missing persons as a result of irregular migration in the Mediterranean, Central America and East Asia, and disappearances in the context of conflicts in Africa and South Asia. Topics are studied from…

ICMP collects DNA samples from EU-based Syrian families

The Hague, 20 August 2021 – The International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) today completed the first phase of a campaign to collect DNA samples from Syrian families living in Europe whose relatives have gone missing either in Syria as a result of the conflict, or along migration routes after fleeing the conflict.

From 29 July to 20 August, Syrian families in Germany and the Netherlands, who have missing relatives, were invited to provide genetic reference samples to assist in reuniting families and locating missing persons. The “Act in their Absence” campaign, supported by the German Federal Foreign Office and the Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs, is one element in a long-term missing persons process that ICMP is helping to establish. The process will endeavor to account for missing persons from the Syria conflict who are still alive as well as those who are deceased.

ICMP is collecting information on missing…

ICMP Marks the 7th Anniversary of Da’esh Invasion of Sinjar with Yazidi NGOs in The Hague

The Hague, 3 August 2021: The International Commission on Missing Persons hosted a day-long event at its headquarters in The Hague today to mark the 7th Anniversary of the Da’esh invasion of Sinjar. The events included a roundtable discussion on the process of locating missing Yazidis and securing their rights, and a commemoration event organized by the Yazidi Legal Network.

On 3 August, Da’esh invaded the Iraqi province of Sinjar, which resulted in the death of more than 5,000 men and the abduction of 7,000 people, mainly women and children. A significant number of those who were abducted are still missing. Speaking at the roundtable, ICMP Director-General Kathryne Bomberger emphasized that: “It is essential to continue with urgency the efforts of Iraqi national authorities, together with ICMP, to account for all those who are still missing in Iraq, including those who went missing as a result of the Yazidi Genocide…