Archive for noviembre, 2005

ICMP Launches Campaign to Reach Family Members of Kosovo Missing

martes, noviembre 29th, 2005

The International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) is launching a major media campaign this week to encourage family members of persons missing as a result of the conflict in Kosovo to donate blood samples for DNA-led identifications.ICMP Chief of Staff Kathryne Bomberger unveiled ICMP’s television, radio and newspaper advertisements to the media at a press conference on Sunday in Pristina. All the advertisements, as well as posters, have been produced in both Albanian and Serbian languages; they will be carried by media in Kosovo and Serbia proper from this week.

ICMP is focusing on family members of the missing in its campaign; in the television advertisements, mothers of sons who went missing during the conflict say that by giving a blood sample, they have done everything they can to find their missing sons. The central theme of the campaign is the question “Have you done everything you can?” ICMP hopes, in this way, to encourage more family members to come forward. The blood samples are simple to give - just four small drops of blood from a fingertip onto an absorbent card.

“The issue of missing persons from the 1998-1999 conflict represents one of the biggest human rights concerns facing Kosovo today,” said Kathryne Bomberger at the media presentation on Sunday, adding, “We are doing everything we can to bring resolution to the families and truth to the society as a whole”.

ICMP has so far collected almost 13,000 blood samples from family members of persons missing from the conflict, accounting for approximately 4,000 missing individuals. Some 4,500 persons are estimated to have gone missing as a result of the conflict. Through the current blood collection campaign, ICMP hopes to collect a further 1,000 blood samples, completing the blood collection part of the identification efforts. ICMP also estimates there are still over 1,500 mortal remains still unaccounted for from the conflict.

ICMP has been working on the issue of persons missing as a result of the Kosovo conflict since 1999, assisting the UN Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK) and the Provisional Institutions of Self Government in identifying missing persons. In 2001, ICMP began working on the issue in Serbia proper. ICMP’s assistance varies from political support and support of the family associations of the missing to technical support, including assistance with forensic archeology, anthropology and DNA-led identifications.

ICMP collects blood samples from family members of the missing and analyses those samples for DNA-led identifications. The DNA profiles obtained from family members’ blood samples are compared to the DNA of exhumed mortal remains, obtained by ICMP from bone specimens submitted to it by UNMIK. As a result of that process, ICMP provides UNMIK with DNA reports identifying the persons whose bone specimens have been analyzed by ICMP.

Italian Contribution to ICMP DNA Laboratories

viernes, noviembre 25th, 2005

The International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) will receive a 50,000 Euro contribution from the Government of Italy. The Italian contribution is earmarked for ICMP’s standard setting work in making DNA identifications and they will directly fund ICMP’s DNA laboratory work. By making this contribution, Italy will join the group of countries and organizations supporting the work of ICMP, thus bringing the total number of sponsoring governments to 15.The ICMP incorporates the use of DNA as a primary tool in post-conflict identifications; this method requires the collection and profiling of DNA from blood samples donated by family members with missing relatives for matching with DNA extracted from bone samples taken from recovered mortal remains. The DNA match report generated by ICMP is given to court appointed forensic experts to make final, legal binding identifications, thus assisting governments in bringing closure to families of the missing regarding the fate of missing loved ones.

“Family members of missing persons, as well as governments and forensic experts have agreed that a DNA-based identification process is the only accurate way to identify mortal remains of missing persons as a result of conflict and crimes against humanity,” said Kathryne Bomberger, ICMP Chief of Staff when the donation was received. “Through the use of DNA, ICMP has provided accurate identifications and thus hopes to have contributed to a sense of closure for family members and helped the society as a whole.” “I would like to thank the Italian Government for this important contribution,” Ms. Bomberger stated.

ICMP made its first DNA match in November 2001, and since then the organization has made over 8,500 DNA matches of different individuals missing from the conflicts in the regions of the former Yugoslavia, of which approximately 6,700 are of persons missing from Bosnia Herzegovina. A delegation of Italian Embassy in Bosnia and Herzegovina visited ICMP facilities in Tuzla in April this year learning more about the process of recovering and identifying of missing persons.

“The work that ICMP does is impressive and I hope that our contribution will assist the International Commission on Missing Persons in expediting the process of providing answers regarding the fate of their loved ones,” said H.E. Ambassador Alessandro Fallavollita.

The work of ICMP is also supported by the Governments of the United States of America, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, Switzerland, Denmark, Norway, Iceland, Finland, Germany, Ireland, Greece and the Holy See, Sweden, the European Union and Thailand.

ICMP to Collect Blood Samples

viernes, noviembre 18th, 2005

Blood collection teams from the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) will be visiting the United States from November 29 to December 14 to collect blood samples from family members of persons missing from the conflicts in the former Yugoslavia. This visit will be the first ICMP blood collection campaign in North America and will focus on twelve states.

Out of the estimated 30,000 persons who went missing during the conflict in Bosnia and Herzegovina that ended by the signing of the Dayton Peace Agreement, there still are between 15,000 to 20,000 persons to be found. ICMP will also be collecting blood samples from persons with missing relatives from other parts of the region, including from persons affected by the conflict in Kosovo.

The blood samples are needed for DNA identification of remains found in grave sites across the former Yugoslavia. Since the year 2000, ICMP has collected over 75,000 blood samples from family members, relating to 26,400 missing individuals from the region. As DNA is used to trace genetic links with family members, samples are needed from several family members from each missing person. Of the missing persons on its database, ICMP has already found DNA matches for 8,570 individuals.

ICMP is actively collecting blood samples from family members, and as there are large numbers of refugees living in other countries, ICMP extended its outreach campaign last year to family members living outside the former Yugoslavia.

Identification of the missing from the conflicts in the former Yugoslavia, many of whom are still being exhumed from mass graves where remains have been separated and commingled, would have been impossible without the use of DNA. In 1999, ICMP scientists revolutionized the use of DNA methods to identify large numbers of missing persons by building complex databases of DNA profiles of family members and of bone samples from exhumed remains, and by developing software that could find family matches between the two databases.

The ICMP blood collection campaign will include the following cities: Syracuse, New York; Hartford, Connecticut; Erie, Pennsylvania; Richmond, Virginia; Jacksonville, Florida; Atlanta, Georgia; Des Moines, Iowa; Chicago, Illinois; Grand Rapids, Michigan; Bowling Green, Kentucky; St. Louis, Missouri and Dallas, Texas.

Giving a blood sample is simple, safe and painless; just four small drops of blood are required, but the sample must be given under sterile conditions.

Please find attached the list of locations the ICMP blood collection teams will visit and a document containing background information.