ICMP begins work on guide to help families of Iraq’s missing; seeks input from civil society, families

ICMP Iraq Program Head Rasa Ostrauskaite (to the right) with Yezidi families of the missing and community leaders following consultations. Baadre, November 2019. Photo: ICMP/Ali Simoqy

Baghdad, Iraq, 15 June 2020: Relatives of the hundreds of thousands of persons missing in Iraq often face difficulties in finding reliable information on what they can do to ensure that the disappearances of their family members are investigated. To help them navigate what can be a complex, challenging and lengthy process, the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) is developing a guide to Iraq’s approach to account for missing persons.

ICMP has worked with the authorities in Iraq since 2005, supporting them in work to account for all missing persons, regardless of their sectarian or national background, or the period of time in which they disappeared. ICMP also helps Iraqi families of missing persons access their rights.

The ICMP Iraq guide will explain the missing persons process in Iraq and outline the various steps involved in searching for and identifying missing persons in the country. It will highlight the roles of Iraqi institutions, families of the missing and civil society, and it will describe processes and timelines. The guide will also discuss the rights of the families of the missing, including the rights to justice, truth and reparation. In addition, it will provide an overview of how DNA can be used to identify missing persons and the right to privacy of families of the missing.

ICMP, which has helped account for more than 70 percent of the 40,000 persons who went missing during the conflicts of the 1990s in the former Yugoslavia, adheres to international standards for data collection, use and protection. ICMP-created similar guides for families of missing persons in Kosovo and Bosnia and Herzegovina, which helped support families’ involvement in reporting and finding missing loved ones.

“By collecting views and input from families and civil society, we will be able to create a resource that will help families navigate the process and assert their rights,” said Rasa Ostrauskaite, head of the ICMP Program in Iraq. “Access to information benefits all stakeholders involved in the process to account for Iraq’s many missing persons.”

Civil society and family representatives who want to contribute should email ICMP in Iraq at iraq@icmp.int as soon as possible – consultations will end on 31 July 2020. The guide, expected to be finalized in September 2020, will be available on the ICMP website.

ICMP’s work in Iraq is supported by the Government of the Netherlands.


About ICMP

ICMP is a treaty-based international organization that seeks to ensure the cooperation of governments and others in locating missing persons from conflict, human rights abuses, disasters, organized crime, migration, and other causes, and to assist them in doing so. As the only international organization that is exclusively tasked to address the issue of missing persons, ICMP is actively engaged in working with governments, civil society organizations, justice institutions, international organizations, and others to develop purpose-specific institutions and legislation, to foster the growth and influence of civil society groups and families of the missing, and to provide cutting-edge technical expertise and tools, such as DNA and advanced data systems technologies to locate and identify the missing. ICMP works to secure the rights of all families of the missing to justice, truth and reparations. ICMP also supports the work of other organizations in their efforts, encourages public involvement in its activities and contributes to the development of appropriate expressions of commemoration and tribute to the missing.