ICMP to assist Chile with Missing Persons

16 June 2008: The International Commission on Missing Persons is delighted to announce the signing of an agreement with the Government of the Republic of Chile to provide technical assistance in identifying victims of enforced disappearance from the 1970’s.

“ICMP is pleased to assist Chile in helping to identify those missing,” said Director-General Kathryne Bomberger. “It not only achieves the primary human rights task of helping families and relatives find their loved ones, it’s also a good example of the kind of international professional cooperation that ICMP, as it expands operationally, is prepared to offer worldwide.”

The agreement was signed at ICMP’s Sarajevo headquarters and in the first instance 43 bone samples and 73 reference samples have arrived at ICMP’s Sarajevo laboratories for testing.

“This is a very important agreement for us, as we share the same mandate for our victims as ICMP,” said Dr. Gloria Ramirez-Donoso, from the Human Rights Programme of the Justice Ministry’s Legal Medical Services, or LMS, after signing the agreement. “ICMP has opened a real opportunity for us to achieve justice in our cases.”

She added that the bone samples delivered for analysis to ICMP came from a burial site at Calama, a desert region in northern Chile. More than 3,000 people are believed to have disappeared in Chile subsequent to the 1973 coup.

ICMP’s agreement with the Government of Chile follows its involvement in the specially-constituted panel of international experts that was formed to advise the Chilean Presidential Commission on forensic issues relating to the question of forced disappearances from the 1970s.

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.