The Hague, 4 October 2021: – In its continuing support to the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP), the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Sweden has donated SEK 2 million (€200,000) to help address the global challenge of missing and disappeared persons. Sweden is a member of ICMP’s Conference of States Parties and an original signatory state of the ICMP Treaty.
“Today, across Latin America, in the Mediterranean, and across South and Southeast Asia, tens of thousands of people are missing as a result of irregular migration. More than 100,000 people have disappeared from the conflict in Syria, inside the country or on dangerous routes taken by desperate Syrian refugee, and thousands are reported missing as a result of the enforced disappearance and mass displacement of Rohingya from northern Myanmar,” said Rolf Ekeus, ICMP Commissioner. “Countries such as Iraq, Sri Lanka, Burundi, Rwanda, and Vietnam are striving to address a huge and painful legacy of missing persons from past conflicts,” he added.
“Accounting for missing persons is essential to the sustained recovery of countries after disasters or war,” Deputy Director-General and Head of the Department for International Law, Human Rights and Treaty Law at the Swedish Foreign Service Niklas Kebbon said today.
Noting that Sweden was one of the five original signatories to the ICMP Treaty in 2014, Mr Kebbon said that ICMP’s approach, which champions the rule of law, the development of institutional mechanisms to account for the missing, and the continuous involvement of families, is closely aligned with Sweden’s foreign policy objectives.
“Accounting for the missing, after conflict and disaster or as a result of trafficking and organized crime, is fundamental to upholding and reinforcing the rule of law,” said Kathryne Bomberger, ICMP Director-General. “Governments have legal obligations to take effective steps to establish the facts and help survivors to access their rights to truth, justice and reparations. Helping authorities to do this is an investment in peace. Accounting for missing persons is a central element in restoring public confidence in post-conflict and post-disaster societies and in consolidating global security,” she added. Ms Bomberger said the support provided to ICMP by Sweden “can rightly be viewed as an investment in peace and stability.”
Funding from Sweden has enabled ICMP to carry out its mandate for nearly two decades, Ms Bomberger said. “ICMP’s integrated Data Management System (iDMS) and state-of-the-art DNA laboratory, which are part of the Main Program, are key to finding large numbers of missing persons,” she added. “They offer invaluable assistance to authorities that are endeavoring to account for large numbers of people who have gone missing, for example, as a result of conflict or widespread unrest.”
Sweden has supported ICMP activities since 2002, with grants totaling 7.4 million Euros to date. The bulk of Swedish support has been for the Western Balkans Program, but it has also provided funds for ICMP’s Colombia program as well as its Main Program.
ICMP is a treaty-based intergovernmental organization with Headquarters in The Hague, the Netherlands. Its mandate is to secure the cooperation of governments and others in locating missing persons from conflict, human rights abuses, disasters, organized crime, irregular migration and other causes and to assist them in doing so. It is the only international organization tasked exclusively to work on the issue of missing persons.