13 June 2019: Meeting at the Headquarters of the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) in The Hague today, representatives of Cyprus, Greece, Italy, and Malta participated in the second meeting of the Joint Process to further discuss cooperation on addressing the large number of people who continue to go missing on Mediterranean migration routes despite a reduction in the number of migrants arriving in Europe.
Despite the decrease in the number of arrivals in Europe, more than 500 persons are reported to have died or to have gone missing in the Mediterranean region since the beginning of 2019. Globally, since 2014, more than 31,000 persons have been reported missing or deceased along migratory routes.
Having met for the first time in Rome on 11 June 2018, the government representatives at the second meeting of the Joint Process discussed an Assessment of the scope and extent of existing investigatory capacities, as well as draft Proposals for Action, both prepared by ICMP. The representatives of Cyprus, Greece, and Malta, welcomed the Assessment and Proposal for Action and agreed to further explore cooperation, including identifying “focal points” in each country. The representative of Italy reaffirmed availability and interest in renewing the existing Protocol of Cooperation between ICMP and the Special Commissioner for Missing Persons.
A Joint Statement endorsed by Cyprus, Greece and Malta at the conclusion of the meeting reiterates that: “Locating missing migrants requires effective cooperation among States in a range of fields, including improving the utility of available data, forensic and other technical aspects, and support to families of the missing.” It adds that, “Efforts also have to be coordinated more efficiently with international and other organizations, and the assistance of intergovernmental specialized organizations has to be secured.” The Statement also notes the possibility of identifying “focal points” in each country.
In addition to representatives of Cyprus, Greece, Italy and Malta, today’s meeting was attended by representatives of France, Spain, Tunisia, Libya, Morocco, Egypt, Nigeria, Belgium, Chile, El Salvador, Germany, Luxembourg, Serbia, Sweden, Switzerland, The Netherlands, and the UK.
ICMP’s Missing Migrants Program is supported by the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs of Switzerland.
ICMP is a treaty-based international 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.