29 October 2013: A three-day conference hosted by the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) will open tomorrow in the City of The Hague at the Peace Palace. It is the first conference to address the issue of missing persons, regardless of whether they are missing from war, human rights violations, disasters, human trafficking, drug related violence, migration or other causes.
According to estimates there are millions of persons missing today around the world from conflict and human rights abuses and thousands more go missing every year from human trafficking, drug related violence and migration. The issue of missing persons is as old as mankind and yet there is virtually no common understanding of the global dimension or scale of the problem.
The conference “The Missing: An Agenda for the Future” will gather experts, including policy makers, government officials, academics, scientists, medical professionals, diplomats, as well as representatives from victim groups, international organizations, NGOs, judicial institutions, law enforcement, and many others. The participants will explore the creation of guidelines, standards and data protection policies concerning the responsibilities of states and the international community in dealing with the issue of missing persons.
On this occasion the ICMP Director General Kathryne Bomberger said: “It is a discouraging fact that in the 21st century the international community has no organized way of dealing with missing persons on a global level. There are no guidelines regarding the responsibility of states following conflict; there are no universal standards or legal frameworks in place that victim or survivor groups can refer to; and there is no sustainable international response mechanism that exists to address this global problem. We hope that our conference will serve as a forum not only to discuss this problem, but to find solutions to it and create an agenda for the future.”
Keynote speeches of the first day will be given by ICMP Chairman Ambassador Thomas Miller, Her Majesty Queen Noor, President of the Republic of Croatia H.E. Mr. Ivo Josipović and Mr. David Tolbert, President of the International Commission on Transitional Justice.
Other conference participants will include ICMP Commissioner H.E. Ambassador Rolf Ekéus, Interpol Secretary-General Mr. Ronald K. Noble, Scientific Director of the German Forensic Science Institute Dr. Ingo Bastisch, Mr. Frank de Paolo from the Office of the NYC Chief Medical Examiner, Director-General of the International Organization for Migration (IOM) H.E. Ambassador William Lacy Swing, Professor Eric Stover of the University of California, and many other relevant speakers.
ICMP is the only specialized international organization that addresses the issue of missing persons in all of its facets. It was created in 1996 at a G-7 Summit in Lyon, France.
For more information on the conference please visit: