Baghdad, 24 October 2019: The Iraqi National Team with the support of the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) has completed a Data and Reference Sample Collection campaign in Qadiya Camp for internally displaced persons, in Duhok, northern Iraq.
A large number of people living in the camp belong to the Yezidi community from the Sinjar area of northern Iraq, which was overrun by Da’esh in 2014.
During the campaign, blood reference samples were collected from relatives of the missing, and new missing person cases were reported. The National Team crossed–checked information on more than 400 missing persons, which may now be used as part of the process of identifying human remains that were exhumed in July and August from mass graves in the village of Kocho in Sinjar. It is hoped that the reference sample campaign will lead to DNA-based identifications of missing persons, including missing persons cases related to the recent excavation of mass graves sites in the Sinjar area.
“ICMP provided families with information about the process and assisted the National Team through logistical support and monitoring and mentoring,’ the Head of ICMP’s Iraq Program, Rasa Ostrauskaite, said today, adding that the successful exercise in Qadiya camp can serve as a model for similar exercises elsewhere in the country and that “ICMP will continue to support the National Team in its efforts to address the issue of missing persons.”
The National Team brings together the Mass Graves Directorate of Iraq’s Martyrs’ Foundation, the Medico-Legal Directorate of the Ministry of Health, and the Ministry of Martyrs and Anfal Affairs of the Kurdistan Regional Government of Iraq. These are the agencies that are responsible for addressing the missing persons issue. Between 250,000 and one million people are believed to be missing in Iraq as a result of more than four decades of political instability and conflict.
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.
ICMP’s program in Iraq is funded by the European Union’s Service for Foreign Policy Instruments.