30 March 2011: Chilean Ambassador to Hungary His Excellency Rodrigo Nieto Maturana visited the headquarters of the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) in Sarajevo today. HE Nieto is on a two-day visit to Bosnia and Herzegovina for the purpose of presentation of his credentials to the authorities of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Accompanied by ICMP’s Director-General Ms. Kathryne Bomberger, Ambassador Nieto received briefings on ICMP’s assistance to governments worldwide, and toured the organizations’ main laboratory in Sarajevo where ICMP performs DNA extraction and genetic profiling of samples from mortal remains and of blood samples from surviving relatives from all around the globe.
“I have come here to witness the work of ICMP and to thank ICMP for its assistance to the Chilean government in providing long awaited answers to many grieving families. We look forward to our continued successful cooperation with ICMP,” said the Chilean Ambassador to Hungary Rodrigo Nieto Maturana following his visit to ICMP’s Sarajevo DNA laboratory.
“One of the many tragic consequences of Chile’s violent past has been the enforced disappearance of thousands of its citizens. Many Chilean families have waited up to 37 years to ascertain the fate of their loved ones and many are still searching for answers. ICMP is committed to providing technical assistance to Chile to help in addressing this grim period of the country’s history,” said ICMP’s Director-General Ms. Kathryne Bomberger.
Since 2008, ICMP has assisted the Chilean government by analyzing 1,232 blood reference samples of Chilean citizens searching for 342 missing persons. In addition, ICMP has also received and analyzed 143 bone samples from exhumed skeletal remains.
ICMP’s agreement to assist the Government of Chile follows its involvement in the specially-constituted panel of international experts that was formed to advise the Chilean Presidential Commission on forensic issues relating to the question of forced disappearances from the 1970s.
In February 1991, the National Commission for Truth and Reconciliation released its report encompassing human rights abuses resulting in death or disappearance committed in Chile during the years of military rule under Augusto Pinochet (1973 – 1990). According to the report, 2,296 people were murdered during the 17-year period.
ICMP seeks to secure the co-operation of governments and other authorities in locating and identifying persons missing as a result of armed conflicts, other hostilities or violations of human rights and to assist them in doing so. ICMP pioneered the use of DNA technology to identify large numbers of missing persons. Today ICMP has helped scientifically identify 18,000 persons and its database houses 150,000 genetic samples. ICMP maintains the highest throughput capability for DNA-based identifications in the world and as such it has become a center for global assistance, not only in cases of human rights violations, but also in disaster situations. It has also developed a unique software platform called the fDMS to manage the complex data, which it makes available to governments.