Iraqi authorities, with ICMP support, to collect data and blood samples from families with missing relatives in Southern Iraq

Baghdad 6 December 2020 – As part of work that aims to identify missing persons, Iraqi authorities – supported by the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) – will be at several sites in Southern Iraq to collect information and blood samples for DNA analysis from families of missing persons for 10 days starting 6 December.

The campaign to collect information and blood drops for genetic testing, targets families whose relatives went missing in atrocities at Badoush prison, where Da’esh allegedly massacred hundreds of prisoners in 2014. Work to excavate a mass grave near the prison is resuming, following a hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Mass Graves Directorate (MGD) of the Martyrs’ Foundation (MF) and the Medico-Legal Directorate (MLD) of the Ministry of Health, as well as ICMP experts, will meet families with missing relatives in Basra, Dhi Qhar, Missan and Wassit for one to three days each. The campaign aims to make it easier for families in these areas to provide information and blood samples, the DNA of which will be analyzed and compared with DNA extracted from human remains exhumed in Badoush. The action is conducted in coordination with the United Nations Investigative Team to Promote Accountability for Crimes Committed by Da’esh/ISIL (UNITAD) and national partners under the auspices of the National Coordination Committee established by the Prime Minister’s office.

“This campaign enables families in Southern Iraq to easily file reports on their missing relatives and to give blood for DNA analysis – these are important first steps needed for authorities to investigate the fate of their family members and identify remains found in mass graves,” said Alexander Hug, Head of the ICMP Program in Iraq.

ICMP began working with Iraqi institutions in 2005 and established an office in Baghdad in 2008 and in Erbil in 2010. ICMP works to assist Iraq in creating a sustainable process to locate all missing persons, regardless of the period of disappearance, the circumstances, or the national/sectarian origin of the missing persons and to secure the rights of all surviving families to truth, justice and reparations. ICMP is also helping Iraq create purpose specific institutions and legislation that are key to a sustainable process.

ICMP’s work in Iraq is currently supported by Germany, the Netherlands and the United States Department of State.

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. It is tasked exclusively to work on the issue of missing persons.

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