By Danara Dourdoussova
Baghdad, 17 December 2020 – Representatives from 24 civil society organizations (CSOs) across Iraq recently took part in a workshop to strengthen their ability to respond to the needs of the families of the missing and forcibly disappeared.
Topics addressed during the workshop included the role of CSOs in responding to the needs of the families of forcibly disappeared and other missing persons; reporting missing persons to Iraqi authorities and to the UN mechanisms, and developing a national legal framework that protects all persons from enforced disappearance in line with the International Convention on the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance. Workshop participants said CSOs and international experts should be part of Iraq’s efforts in these fields.
The workshop, held 7-9 December, was organized by the Human Rights Office of the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI) jointly with the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) and the Iraqi High Commission for Human Rights.
Commissioner of the Iraqi High Commission for Human Rights Anas Al-Azzawi said the workshop was important to Iraq’s work on missing persons.
“Capacity building is an important aspect of developing the fabric of civil society in Iraq,” he said. “I hope we can meet again for a training opportunity.”
Several participants reported that families face challenges when trying to report missing persons, and when trying to access their rights to truth, justice and reparations. ICMP plans to offer CSOs training on both topics, with the latter focusing on Iraq’s Compensation Law No. 20. The trainings will be facilitated by ICMP’s Wim Kok Center for Excellence and Learning.
ICMP’s work in Iraq is currently supported by Germany, the Netherlands and the United States.
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. It is tasked exclusively to work on the issue of missing persons.