ICMP Photo exhibition in Baghdad underlines importance of cooperation to account for the missing in Iraq

Baghdad, 25 February 2020: A photo exhibition organized by the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) and Iraqi institutions tasked with finding missing persons, including the Martyrs’ Foundation and the Ministry of Health was inaugurated this week.  The exhibition, which is supported through ICMP’s EU –funded Iraq program, highlights the magnitude of the missing persons issue in Iraq and showcases the Iraqi National Team’s intensive work to address it.

The exhibition, titled “Missing Persons Can Be Accounted For:  A Strong Partnership between ICMP and the Iraqi National Team”, also illustrates how ICMP is helping its partners in Iraq to build a sustainable and effective missing persons process.

“The photos in this joint exhibition tell a story of hope. They show that with cooperation from all involved, it is possible to find the missing and to help the families of the missing,” said Rasa Ostrauskaite, the Head of ICMP’s Iraq Program.

The Head of Martyrs’ Foundation, Kadhim Al Shamari, added:

“These photos show a great pain that Iraqi people went through over decades, but also the great task at hand and ahead: to account for every missing person in Iraq – this requires cooperation among all the Iraqi stakeholders and the support of the international organizations.”

Representatives of foreign diplomatic missions, international organizations and civil society organizations in Iraq attended the inauguration, held 24 February in the Martyrs’ Foundation main office in Baghdad.

The European Union Ambassador in Iraq, Martin Huth, stated:

“On this difficult and painful road, Iraq and its people deserve our help and sympathy – not least because one can only embark on one’s future with confidence when one has come to terms with the past. This photo exhibition documents the immense amount of work done by the National Team – the Martyrs’ Foundation and the Ministry of Health – and the assistance that ICMP given to the National Team. And it also highlights the essential role of families of the missing and civil society organizations in the process of identifying and locating missing persons.”

Iraq has hundreds of thousands of missing persons cases, including those missing from the Saddam Hussein regime.  ICMP has worked with the authorities in Iraq since 2003, helping Iraq create a sustainable process to find all missing persons, regardless of their sectarian or national background, or the period of time in which they disappeared, and to secure the rights of all families of the missing

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 Iraq program is supported by the European Union’s Service for Foreign Policy Instruments (FPI).