20 May 2014: The International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) issued a comprehensive Report from its conference on the issue of missing persons “The Missing: An Agenda for the Future”. The report provides an overview of the issue of missing persons globally and highlights recommendations made by the conference delegates.
The ICMP conference was the first of its kind and it gathered together more than 200 prominent policymakers, human rights activist, scientists, academia, journalists, representatives of victim and survivor groups from Libya, Mexico, Thailand, Bosnia and Herzegovina, United States of America, Syria, Croatia, Iraq, Serbia and other countries to discuss missing persons cases from all causes.
The conference was held between 29th October and 1st November 2013 in The Hague, The Netherlands. It was attended by the President of the Republic of Croatia, Mr. Ivo Josipović; Minister of Foreign Affairs, H.E. Mr. Frans Timmermans; Secretary-General of INTEPROL, Mr. Ronald K. Noble; Director-General of the International Organization of Migration, H.E. Ambassador William Lacy Swing; Minister of Human Rights in Iraq, Mr. Mohammed Shyaa Al-Sudani; Minister of Maryrs and Anfal Affairs in Iraq, Mr. Aram Ahmed Mohammed; President of the International Center for Transitional Justice, Mr. David Tolbert and many others.
Conference delegates shared their experience in addressing the issue of missing persons globally and discussed various aspects of this problem. The delegates discussed improving global capacity to respond to missing persons issues in the future; aligning global and domestic initiatives, building domestic ownership; strengthening the role of the judiciary; ensuring the rights of survivors; exploring the availability and quality of missing persons data; as well as enhancing preventive measures and preparedness.
The report recommends that the international community must recognize the global scale of the problem of missing persons and that an international mechanism and standing capacity to deal with the missing must be established to address persons missing from conflict, human rights abuses, organized violence, migration or any other causes. This includes the creation of a Permanent Disaster Victim Identification (PDVI) platform available to all countries.
The report also recommends that domestic and international capacities be developed to link data on missing persons at an international level. In addition, it is necessary to clearly define legal responsibilities, standards, as well as data protection and privacy measures. The role and responsibilities of governments in addressing missing persons cases needs to be clarified more and to this effect ICMP has proposed an international declaration on the role of the states. Lastly, a global forum on missing persons should be initiated to ensure more effective cooperative networks on missing persons.
The Report is available in English, and can be downloaded at this link: http://www.icmp.int/wp-content/uploads/2014/05/icmp-conference-report.pdf Translations into Bosnian-Croatian-Serbian (BCS), Arabic, Kurdish, Spanish and French will follow soon at ICMP’s website.
The Report’s appendix includes a summary of discussions from roundtable discussions preceding the Conference and held by academics, civil society representatives and international experts who met in The Hague, in Sarajevo and at the University of Sussex.
Today there are millions of reported cases of missing and disappeared persons from armed conflict and human rights abuses around the world. In addition, thousands of persons go missing every year as a result of disasters, human trafficking, organized violence and other causes.
The ICMP was established in 1996 at the G-7 Summit in Lyon, France. It is the only specialized international organization of its kind that addresses this issue of missing persons in all of its facets.