17 July 2009: Britain’s Minister for Europe, Baroness Glenys Kinnock, visited the international headquarters of the International Commission on Missing Persons today as part of her first official trip to Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Accompanied by ICMP’s Director-General Ms.Kathryne Bomberger, as well as by the British Ambassador to Bosnia and Herzegovina, H.E. Mr. Michael Tatham, and officials from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, the Baroness received briefings on ICMP’s work on behalf of governments worldwide, and toured the organisation’s main laboratory where ICMP performs DNA extraction and genetic profiling of samples from mortal remains and blood from surviving relatives.
“Establishing sustainable mechanisms to address the fate of the missing has been a key challenge in Bosnia and Herzegovina” said Baroness Kinnock. “It has been fascinating to see first hand the impressive work carried out by Kathryne and her team in partnership with the BiH authorities. This plays an important role in helping bring closure to those families with missing loved ones”.
“Without the consistent support and donor funding of the British government, ICMP simply would not be able to carry out many of its most important activities,” said ICMP Director-General Kathryne Bomberger. We are extremely thankful that the British government has consistently recognized our operational funding requirements and been a long-term and faithful supporter of ours.”
The United Kingdom has supported ICMP since the year 2000 with grants of $4,121,268 that have focused not just on providing assistance to its forensic operations but crucially on the development of Bosnia’s capacity to address the missing persons issue at the level of the state, including the establishment of the Missing Persons Institute.
United Kingdom funding assists ICMP’s operations in the Western Balkans and in Colombia. ICMP’s worldwide operations now also include the provision of assistance to the governments of Iraq, the Philippines, Chile and Kuwait. Of the 40,000 people estimated missing from the conflicts in the former Yugoslavia ICMP has identified more than 14,915 using DNA-assisted techniques since 2001.
ICMP endeavours to secure the co-operation of, and work with, governments and other authorities in locating and identifying persons missing as a result of armed conflicts, other hostilities or violations of human rights.