ICMP Supports Iraq Data Collection in Duhok to Identify Victims of Atrocities

Duhok, 4 August 2023 — The International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) provided support to the Directorate for Protection and Affairs of Mass Graves (MGD) of the Martyrs’ Foundation and  the Medico-Legal Directorate (MLD) of the Ministry of Health during a family reference sample collection campaign carried out from 22 to 31 July in Shariyah, Duhok, in coordination with the Commission for Investigation and Gathering Evidence (CIGE) of the Kurdistan Regional Government.

The genetic references samples collected from Yezidi families of the missing will be matched to genetic profiles obtained from victims recovered from mass and clandestine graves.

“This scientifically proven method of identification is a central element in the broader process of upholding the rights of families in Iraq to truth, justice, and reparations,” said Alexander Hug, the Head of ICMP’s Iraq Program.

The Iraqi Government estimates that between 250,000 and more than one million people are missing in the country following decades of conflict, human rights violations and atrocities. This includes persons missing from the defunct Ba’ath regime, the Iran-Iraq war, and the Gulf War, as well as those who have disappeared since 2003.

Following a meeting with senior Iraqi officials in September 2021, ICMP launched a five-year program to support Iraq in developing a sustainable and effective process that will account for missing persons regardless of religious or political affiliation or role in conflict and that will bring justice to families.

This week’s activity was funded by the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs through the support it provides to ICMP’s Iraq Program.

About ICMP

ICMP is a treaty-based intergovernmental 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.

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