15 January 2014: The ICMP facilitated the 4th meeting of the “Ship of Life” Association of Families of Missing Persons between the 8th and 9th of January, in Erbil Iraq. The meeting focused on developing a legal framework to allow the Association to become a formally recognized NGO in Iraq.
In addition to representatives of families of missing persons, the Iraqi Martyrs’ Foundation and The Kurdish Regional Government’s Ministry of Martyrs and Anfal Affairs were represented.
Duncan Spinner, Head of ICMP’s Iraq Office, said: “All missing persons’ families across Iraq have common goals. They all want to learn the truth about their missing relatives, to locate and identify them, to see the perpetrators meet justice and to commemorate the victims. In addition, all families want their financial and social rights ensured. ICMP is pleased to be able to continue to support their cooperation and joint initiatives such as the ‘Ship of Life’ Association”.
The “Ship of Life” is an Iraqi association of families who have missing relatives as a result of past and ongoing human rights abuses in Iraq. The association represents all families of the missing regardless of religion, ethnicity or geographical location. It is anticipated that over time, this association will become part of a regional and global network of family advocates for the missing. The association’s objectives revolve around ensuring justice for the victims in both local and international legal systems as well as ensuring restitution for surviving family members.
The number of missing persons in Iraq ranges from 250,000 to over one million, according to different public sources in Iraq and includes persons missing as a consequence of human rights violations and other atrocities committed during the regime of Saddam Hussein, as well as years of armed conflict.
As part of its global mandate, ICMP works with civil society organizations, encourages public involvement in its activities, and contributes to the development of appropriate expressions of commemoration and tribute to the missing.