28 November 2008: A mutual determination to find resolution to the long-standing problem of people missing from the conflicts of the 1990s in the former Yugoslavia saw family associations, key representatives of regional governments, parliamentarians, diplomats and human rights organizations united at the three-day 11th annual ‘Regional Networking Conference on the Missing Persons Issues’ being held by the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) in Belgrade, Republic of Serbia from 28th to 30th November.
“The presence of governments and family associations at these conferences means that we can all come to an understanding that we’ll solve this issue in a faster and more responsible manner,” said Zvonomir Kubinek, member of the Regional Coordination Board of Associations of Families of the Missing, as the conference opened.
„The fate of approximately 17,000 missing persons still missing from the conflicts in the region presents us with an obligation to enhance our efforts, while maintaining mutual respect, to do our utmost, on both professional and social levels, to resolve the fate of missing persons, as well as to help the families to have better lives. All institutions of the Republic of Serbia will give their full contribution to the search for missing persons and will create all the necessary legal, and material preconditions to bring this process to an end as soon as possible”, Serbian Parliamentary Speaker, Slavica Đukić Dejanović said.
“Missing persons from the conflicts remains one of the biggest and most crucial human rights issues facing the region today” said Ms. Kathryne Bomberger, ICMP Director General.
Following the cessation of conflicts in the former Yugoslavia, there were 40,000 persons missing and presumed dead. This number includes the conflicts relevant to Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH), and Kosovo as well as the 2001 crisis in FYROM/Macedonia. Of the approximately 40,000 persons missing in the region, an estimated 30,000 were missing from the BiH conflict, 5,500 from the Croatia conflicts, 4,400 from the Kosovo conflict and 23 persons from the 2001 crisis in FYROM/Macedonia.
Today the regional number of missing persons is approximately 17,000, of whom 13,000 are missing from the BiH conflict, 2,000 from the Croatia conflict, 2,000 from the Kosovo conflict and 13 from FYROM/Macedonia.
This conference is the 11th regional conference of its kind, held by ICMP in cooperation with associations of families of missing persons from the region, and their primary aim is to bring together representatives of regional governments and civil society organisations so they can share information relevant to determining the fate of missing persons.
ICMP endeavors 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 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. 11th Regional Networking Conference on the Missing Persons Issues 11th Regional Networking Conference on the Missing Persons Issues 11th Regional Networking Conference on the Missing Persons Issues 11th Regional Networking Conference on the Missing Persons Issues.