Posts Categorized: Press Releases

Germany Supports ICMP Colombia Project

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Germany is supporting an ICMP project to help the authorities in Colombia design and implement measures to account for missing persons. Under an agreement signed on Thursday by Germany’s Ambassador to The Netherlands, Dirk Brengelmann, and ICMP Director-General, Kathryne Bomberger, the German Government will provide funding for the initial assessment stages of ICMP’s Colombia program.

In this phase of the program, ICMP will examine the prospects for implementing measures to account for missing persons in Colombia following the 2 October referendum, in which voters narrowly rejected the current terms of a Peace Agreement between the Government of Colombia and the Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia-Ejército del Pueblo (FARC-EP) to end five decades of conflict. A new round of negotiations is now underway.

ICMP will also assess challenges in the process of setting up institutional measures to account for missing persons, analyze recommendations…

QIAGEN and ICMP to develop first NGS workflow for identification of missing persons

Collaboration targets “Sample to Insight” sequencing solutions to enhance research and applications in human identification

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QIAGEN N.V. (NASDAQ: QGEN; Frankfurt Prime Standard: QIA) and the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) have announced collaboration on a project to enhance ICMP’s ability to identify missing persons using next-generation sequencing (NGS) technologies. QIAGEN and ICMP will work together at the ICMP’s laboratory in The Hague to develop and validate a complete NGS solution, including QIAGEN’s “Sample to Insight” GeneReader NGS System* and other QIAGEN workflow solutions, as well as innovative forensic panels designed for identification of missing persons using single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs).

The joint efforts integrate QIAGEN’s “Sample to Insight” integrated GeneReader NGS workflow with ICMP’s on-going efforts to advance the science of human identification through a consultative process that includes the world’s leading forensic geneticists.

“The tragedy of missing persons, often due…

German Government Supports ICMP in Iraq

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The German Government and the International Commission on Missing Persons today launched a new initiative to address the issue of missing and disappeared persons in Iraq. The project will focus on supporting ICMP’s work with the domestic authorities to secure and excavate mass graves in Sinjar and it may be extended to cover mass graves elsewhere in Iraq. Work will begin immediately.

ICMP is already helping authorities in Iraq to locate and identify thousands of people who were killed after Islamic State occupied the town of Sinjar in Northern Iraq in August 2014. The town was retaken by Kurdish forces in November 2015.

ICMP’s current work involves helping the authorities to strengthen operational and technical capacities, including providing training in mass grave exhumations, crime scene management, and mortuary procedures; providing guidance on effective operational planning, inter-agency cooperation and chain of custody; upgrading mortuary facilities;…

One Million Candles for the Missing in Iraq

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Today, to mark the International Day of the Disappeared, ICMP’s Iraq program has organized a social media campaign to light a million virtual candles representing missing persons in Iraq.

“Today is an important day throughout the world, but it’s especially important in Iraq,” said the Head of ICMP’s Iraq program Trefor Williams. “Up to one million persons are believed to have gone missing in Iraq in the last 40 years, more than in any other country in the world.”

ICMP has been engaged in Iraq since 2003, working with the authorities to strengthen operational and technical capacities, including providing training in mass grave exhumations, crime scene management, and mortuary procedures; providing guidance on effective operational planning, inter-agency cooperation and chain of custody; and upgrading mortuary facilities. ICMP has also worked with families of the missing to help…

12,000 candles for the missing

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Today, in order to mark the International Day of the Disappeared, ICMP’s Western Balkans program organized a social media campaign to light 12,000 virtual candles representing missing persons in the Western Balkans.

Also, in cooperation with associations of families of the missing and the Ministry for Refugees and Human Rights, ICMP organized an event in Sarajevo. Silhouettes symbolizing missing persons were erected in the Square of Sarajevo Children, and passersby were invited to write messages and place them on the installations. Volunteers and families distributed information about the effort to account for the missing, and urged the authorities to accelerate the process and to become more engaged in marking the International Day of the Disappeared.

“ICMP has spearheaded the effort to account for the 40,000 persons who were missing at the end of the conflict,” said Matthew Holliday, the Head of ICMP’s Western Balkans…

Light a Candle for the Missing

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Today, in order to mark the International Day of the Disappeared, ICMP organized a global social media campaign to light virtual candles representing persons missing around the world.

“Every year, millions of people around the world go missing because of conflict, human rights abuses, people trafficking, migration, disasters or other causes,” said ICMP Director-General Kathryne Bomberger. “Thousands have gone missing as a result of the Mediterranean migration crisis in the last two years, and that is one area where the international community must develop a coordinated approach. The number of persons who have disappeared because of atrocities and human rights violations in Iraq is another area where a focused, rule-of-law approach is required.”

ICMP is preparing to launch an initiative with the International Organization on Migration and other agencies to assess the number of migrants who are going missing and set in place measures…

ICMP Introduces Restructured Missing Persons Online Inquiry Center

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The International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) today announced the launch of its restructured Online Inquiry Center (OIC). The OIC is an interactive missing persons search tool that makes it possible to provide or obtain information about a missing person. It can be accessed from anywhere in the world.

“The OIC is a unique and invaluable tool that gives stakeholders – including families of the missing and those who are responsible for locating and identifying missing persons – access to ICMP’s database, which currently contains information on around 40,000 missing persons,” said ICMP Director-General Kathryne Bomberger. “We have expanded the number of language versions and we have made the software easier to use. We believe this is a substantial and strategic contribution to the effort to account for missing persons around the world.”

The OIC can now be accessed in English, Arabic, Spanish, Albanian,…

ICMP welcomes Colombia peace agreement

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The Director-General of the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP), Kathryne Bomberger, today welcomed the announcement of a definitive agreement between the Government of Colombia and the Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia-Ejército del Pueblo (FARC-EP) to end five decades of armed conflict. The final agreement recognizes the rights of victims of the conflict, including the rights of families of the missing and disappeared.

“The conclusion of the negotiations is a historic step on Colombia’s long and difficult road to peace,” Ms. Bomberger said. “ICMP is committed to working with families of the missing, the authorities and others in Colombia to ensure that the issue of missing persons is addressed in an effective, inclusive, sustainable and just manner.”

The elements of the agreement that deal with the issue of missing persons assign a specific role to ICMP, which is tasked with providing recommendations on…

127 Srebrenica Victims Buried at the Memorial in Potočari

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After 21 years, the remains of an additional 127 victims of the Srebrenica massacre were laid to rest in Potočari today. Victims’ family members and friends gathered to pay their respects and bury their loved ones whose remains have been found in mass graves and were identified with the help of the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP).

The estimated number of persons missing as a result of the fall of the Srebrenica and Žepa UN Safe Areas in July 1995 is approximately 8,000. By analyzing DNA profiles extracted from prost-mortem samples of exhumed remains and matching them to the DNA profiles obtained from ante-mortem samples, voluntarily provided by relatives of the missing, ICMP has so far assisted in revealing the identity of 6,925 persons missing from the July 1995 fall of Srebrenica. The total number of those accounted for (by traditional, as…

Profiles of the Missing

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At an event organized by the International Commission on Missing Persons in The Hague today, family members of missing persons from around the world described how they joined forces with others who had suffered the same trauma, in order to seek the truth about the fate of their loved ones.

“It is complex to live with ambiguous loss,” said Ram Kumar Bhandari from Nepal, whose father was arrested by police in December 2001 and has not been seen since. “It’s now been 15 years: this is a long, long wait.”

Ram, who has taken the case of his father’s disappearance through the courts, described how he suffered harassment when he sought legal redress. “We are fighting against injustice, to repair society: we are not following a path to revenge. We see the perpetrators posing in the media and leading the issues form the government…