8 February 2013: The International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) hosted a two-day Working Group meeting “An Effective Partnership to ensure Identifications of Missing Persons” attended by high-level delegates representing all key Ministries and other Organizations involved in the missing persons process.
The meeting focused on next steps in the collection and protection of data from relatives of missing persons, the establishment of a centralized database and on advanced training in DNA techniques for Iraqi scientists.
As representative of the Ministry of Human Rights of Iraq, which has the primary coordination responsibility for the missing persons issue under the Law on Mass Graves, Mr. Arkan Thamer gave the following statement on behalf of all of the Iraqi members of the Working Group: “This meeting was extremely productive for all participants. Iraq’s relationship with ICMP has entered a new stage and we are confident that we are establishing a system that will ensure the highest quality DNA based identification system that draws on ICMP’s unparalleled experience. All the Iraqi ministries and agencies involved in the process are working in close partnership to ensure that we start to make identifications of missing persons as soon as possible.”
The representatives to the Working Group meeting included:
• The Ministry of Martyrs and Anfal Affairs – Minister Sabah Ahmet Mohammed Aram and Director-General Mrs. Parwin Nury Aziz
• The Ministry of Human Rights of Iraq – Mr. Arkan Thamer, Director-General of Humanitarian Affairs and Mr. Dheyaa Kareem, Head of Mass Graves Department
• The Martyrs Foundation of Iraq – Mr. Nasir Shalan, Member of Council Care and Mr. Ahmed Al-Said, Head of Ba’ath Crimes Documentation
• The Medico-Legal Institute, Baghdad – Dr. Salam Shabban, Head of Mass Grave DNA Laboratory, Mr. Mohammad Mushni, Deputy Head of Mass Grave DNA Laboratory, Dr. Firat Fisal, representative of National campaign to collect information and blood samples
• The Medico-Legal Institute, Erbil – Dr. Yasin Kareem, Director General
• Mr. Adam Boys, Chief Operating Officer, ICMP
• Mr. Andreas Kleiser, Director of Policy and Cooperation, ICMP
ICMP seeks to secure the co-operation between governments and other authorities in locating and identifying persons missing as a result of armed conflicts, other hostilities and violations of human rights, and to assist them in doing so. ICMP works with Iraq’s Ministry of Human Rights, the Ministry of Health, the Martyrs Foundation, the Ministry of Martyrs and Anfal Affairs and the Kurdish Regional Government’s Ministry of Health since 2008. ICMP has offices in Baghdad and Erbil.