British Foreign Secretary The Right Honourable William Hague MP visited the headquarters of the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) today during his visit to the region.
Mr. Hague was briefed, by ICMP’s senior staff, about the work of the organization in the region of the Western Balkans and its broader global engagement in the Middle East, North Africa, Latin America and South East Asia. Discussions were held about the future of the organization, including its international status, headquarters and the critical need of the organization as a global resource. Mr. Hague also asked if ICMP could extend its technical capacity to work on cases of sexual violence committed during conflict.
“Addressing missing persons cases and other atrocities is key to rebuilding war torn states and reinstating the rule of law through an honest reckoning of the past,” said Mr. Hague.
“I am profoundly impressed that the organization has assisted the governments in this region account for over 70% of the 40,000 persons who went missing during the conflicts of the 1990’s including almost 90% of the victims missing from the 1995 fall of Srebrenica. This is an unprecedented success and an essential starting point for genuine reconciliation,” he added.
“Through its support to ICMP, the International Community has demonstrated that the missing can be found. For this reason, I am proud of British support to ICMP and I call upon all governments to do the same,” said Mr. Hague.
“The British Government has been a strong supporter of ICMP since its creation 16 years ago and we are extremely grateful for their interest in supporting ICMP as a global resource,” said Kathryne Bomberger, ICMP Director-General.
The ICMP is the only specialized international organization of its kind that addresses the issue of missing persons in all of its facets. The ICMP was created at a G-7 Summit in 1996 and works with governments and others to help them locate and account for persons missing from armed conflict, human rights abuses, disasters and other causes.
The ICMP provides a comprehensive approach to assisting governments. It helps build the institutional infrastructure of afflicted states. It works with civil society to ensure their active and meaningful engagement. It provides technical assistance to governments in locating, recovering and identifying the missing. It supports the work of the judicial sector. As part of its technical assistance, ICMP maintains the world’s largest, most efficient DNA laboratory system dedicated exclusively to identifying missing persons. It has created a database that is capable of processing information on cases globally. It promotes transparency and accountability and it ensures the consistent application of standards, including the protection of personal data.