18 December 2013: The International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) is pleased to announce the appointment of The Rt Hon Alistair Burt MP as an ICMP Commissioner. Mr. Burt is the Member of Parliament (MP) for North East Bedfordshire and was Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, until October this year.
In a letter to ICMP nominating Mr. Burt, the United Kingdom’s Secretary of State, William Hague, said: “Your organization is carrying out important work to address some of the key challenges posed by armed conflicts and natural disasters. The support your organization provides to the families of missing persons and the various institutions which search for truth is commendable and an asset to international justice”. Secretary of State Hague added the following “I am also writing to ask that you accept Mr. Alastair Burt MP as the UK’s nomination for ICMP Commissioner. I am confident that Mr. Burt will be an excellent ICMP Commissioner.”
As the newest ICMP Commissioner, Mr. Burt joins a group of eminent individuals, including Her Majesty Queen Noor; former Prime Minister of the Netherlands Mr. Wim Kok; former OSCE High Commissioner on National Minorities, Ambassador Rolf Ekeus; former Minister of Foreign Affairs of Colombia, Ambassador Carolina Barco; former Norwegian Foreign Minister, Ambassador Knut Vollebæk and ICMP Chairman Ambassador Thomas Miller.
“ICMP is pleased to accept the nomination of Mr. Burt as a member of our Commission. The UK’s political and financial support to ICMP has been exceptional over the years, both in the Western Balkans and other parts of the world where ICMP operates, including Libya. The appointment of Mr. Burt is warmly received by our Commission and is a clear demonstration of the UK’s continuing and vital support”, ICMP Chairman Miller said on the occasion.
The ICMP is the only specialized international organization that addresses the issue of missing persons in all of its facets. The ICMP was created at a G-7 Summit in 1996 to work with governments and other authorities to assist them in their efforts to locate and account for persons missing from the wars of the 1990’s in the former Yugoslavia. ICMP’s mandate and activities were expanded in 2003 to enable the organization to work globally and to respond to cases of persons missing as a consequence of disasters and other causes.
Over the last 16 years through its assistance to countries around the globe, ICMP has modernized and transformed the international community response to the issue of missing persons and it has significantly advanced the difficult task of defining the responsibilities of states and other authorities confronted with the issue.