The Rights of Yazidi Survivors of Atrocities to Justice Must be Secured

Baghdad, 3 August 2023 Speaking on the ninth anniversary of crimes committed by Da’esh against the Yazidi population in Iraq, the Director-General of the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP), Kathryne Bomberger, said ICMP will continue working with the families of victims and with the responsible authorities in Iraq to secure truth, justice, and reparations for survivors.

On 3 August 2014, Da’esh invaded Sinjar, killing thousands of people and abducting thousands more of the Yazidi community members, many of those who were abducted are still missing.

“The impact of these heinous crimes continues to reverberate, leaving countless families searching for answers about the fate of their missing loved ones,” Ms. Bomberger said. “On this somber anniversary, we remember the victims of the genocide, and we salute the courage and resilience of the Yazidi families who are searching for their loved ones. ICMP is committed to supporting the effort to account for those who are still missing.”

ICMP has provided technical and financial support to Iraqi state institutions responsible for accounting for missing persons in Iraq, including those missing from the Yazidi community. As part of this assistance, ICMP has provided support to numerous DNA reference collection campaigns, which should help competent authorities speed up the identification of missing persons. Additionally, ICMP has supported the excavation of mass graves, such as those in Kocho village. Throughout its efforts, ICMP collaborates closely with missing persons’ families, civil society organizations, and other international organizations, including UNITAD.

“Nine years ago, the world witnessed the unimaginable suffering endured by the Yazidi community as thousands of Yazidis were subjected to horrifying acts of violence, including mass killings, abductions, and forced displacement,” Alexander Hug, the Head of ICMP’s Iraq Program, said today.  “Iraqi institutions have made progress and ICMP encourages all parties in Iraq to continue to work together to ensure that victims are accounted for, remembered and that the rights of survivors are upheld.”

In a meeting facilitated by ICMP in September 2021, senior Iraqi officials agreed to implement a number of steps to establish a process to account for all the missing in Iraq in compliance with Iraqi and international law. In support of these efforts, 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.

ICMP’s Iraq program is supported by the governments of Germany and the Netherlands.


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.