The Grand Duchy of Luxembourg recently ratified the Agreement on the Status and Functions of the ICMP

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The Grand Duchy of Luxembourg recently ratified (http://bit.ly/26gnRgX) the Agreement on the Status and Functions of the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP). The Agreement was signed by Luxembourg, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, Sweden and Belgium in December 2014 and entered into force in October last year. Following the original Signatories, Chile, Cyprus, El Salvador and Serbia signed the Agreement in 2015. ICMP Director-General Kathryne Bomberger thanked the Luxembourg Ambassador to the Netherlands Pierre – Louis Lorenz for the generous financial and diplomatic support that Luxembourg has provided to ICMP over many years.

The missing in Asia

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By Bert Segier

On 26 April, Sri Lankan Ambassador to The Netherlands A.M.J. Sadiq hosted a meeting of Asian Ambassadors in The Hague to discuss the issue of missing persons in Asia. Participants included the ambassadors of Afghanistan, Bangladesh, India, Indonesia, Japan, the Republic of Korea, Malaysia, Pakistan, the Philippines and Vietnam.

Asian countries are faced with diverse causes of missing and disappeared persons, which include armed conflict, migration, natural disasters, manmade disasters and criminal acts. Numbers of the missing are calculated in hundreds of thousands – and the number of those who are left behind to search for the missing are much greater. Consequently, those affected by the issue are not just the direct victims themselves but their friends, family members and society at large.

At the April meeting in The Hague, the Sri Lankan Ambassador rightly stressed that “the issue of missing persons…

Scientists from Vietnam Complete Training at ICMP

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By Lejla Softic

Two groups of three research scientists from the Vietnam Academy of Science and Technology (VAST) successfully completed a three-week training program at ICMP’s facilities in Bosnia and Herzegovina in April.

The Hanoi Government estimates that more than 1.1 million North Vietnamese Army personnel and Viet Cong (pro-communist South Vietnamese irregulars) were killed or went missing in the 30 years of fighting before 1975. Around 300,000 are still missing. In addition, between 50,000 and 65,000 North Vietnamese civilians and between 195,000 and 430,000 South Vietnamese civilians died as a result of the conflict.

Although the United States has repatriated and identified most of its war dead, Vietnam has so far identified just a few hundred people, using outdated forensic techniques. Yet thousands of families are desperate to locate the remains of missing relatives.

The six Vietnamese scientists who have been trained at ICMP…

Accountability for the missing and disappeared in Guatemala

 

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Bojana Djokanovic examines Guatemala’s 20-year effort to account for the missing from almost four decades of conflict

Guatemala is the most populous country in Latin America, with the highest birth rate and the highest population growth rate. Poverty is endemic and health and development challenges are severe. The indigenous population, mostly of Mayan descent, constitute 60 percent of the overall population, and continue to lag behind the non-indigenous population in social statistics: they are 2.8 times poorer and have 13 years’ less life expectancy; meanwhile, only 5 percent of university students are indigenous. Twenty-one different Maya groups live in Guatemala making up an estimated 51 % of the national population. A period of social and economic reform in the 1940s and 50s was followed by 36 years of internal conflict that began in 1960, pitting a right-wing regime against a…

Nigeria struggles to address legacy of Zaria killings

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Lejla Hodzic examines the December 2015 events in Zaria, Nigeria, and considers their implications for the issue of missing persons in Nigeria and beyond 

Since 1992, Nigeria has experienced a cycle of inter-communal violence that the authorities have been unable to break. Kaduna State in central Nigeria has been one of the worst affected by targeted killings and human rights abuses based on religious and ethnic discrimination. Endemic bribery and corruption have undermined the capacity of the judicial system to prevent this violence, and divisive local politics have compounded this situation, creating a pervasive culture of impunity.

The military campaign against Boko Haram has led to an increase in violent episodes in Kaduna State, including widespread and serious human rights violations. The killing of more than 300 supporters of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN), a Shi’ite Muslim minority group, in December 2015,…

A Sustainable Effort to Account for the Missing in Iraq

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Trefor Williams, the Head of ICMP’s Iraq Program, describes the steps that have been taken to coordinate administrative and technical resources in Northern Iraq and engage families of the missing, as efforts get underway to identify thousands of victims in the Sinjar area, recaptured from Islamic State at the end of 2015.

The capture of territory in northern Iraq, including the town of Sinjar and the surrounding area, by Islamic State in August 2014 was followed by mass executions: several thousand people, mostly belonging to the Yezidi community, were killed. When Islamic State was driven out of Sinjar in November 2015 the incoming troops immediately reported the discovery of multiple mass graves.

ICMP has worked in Iraq since 2003 and established offices in the country in 2008. It has helped the authorities to set in place a legal framework, including the creation of…

An Effective Strategy For Addressing the Global Challenge of Missing Persons

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The global challenge of missing and disappeared persons can be tackled effectively if governments and other stakeholders adopt a systematic and coordinated approach, the Director-General of the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP), Kathryne Bomberger, told participants at a seminar organized in The Hague today by British Ambassador to The Netherlands Sir Geoffrey Adams.

“Around the world, as a result of migration and as a result of conflict and political instability we are seeing an alarming rise in the number of people who go missing,” Ms Bomberger said. “ICMP is the only international organization exclusively dedicated to addressing this issue and it has developed a strategy that includes securing the support of relevant authorities and institutions, helping to organize civil society engagement and the engagement of families of the missing, supporting the creation and implementation of appropriate legislation, and applying state-of-the-art scientific techniques…

Ambassador Wigemark Visits ICMP in Tuzla

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EU Special Representative and Head of the European Union Delegation in Bosnia and Herzegovina Ambassador Lars-Gunnar Wigemark visited the Identification Coordination Facility (ICF) of the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) in Tuzla today, accompanied by the Head of ICMP’s Western Balkans Programs, Matthew Holliday.

The ICF acts as the nexus for ICMP’s identification programs and is responsible for receiving and archiving biological samples from around the world, which are in turn prepared for DNA testing in ICMP’s laboratory system. It also administers the DNA matching process and produces and archives DNA match reports, which are submitted to government authorities to assist them in the process of identifying missing persons.

Since ICMP’s DNA laboratory system went online in late 2001, ICMP has helped to make around 20,000 DNA-based identifications worldwide.  ICMP maintains a standing capacity to work on up to 10,000 cases a year. …

Asian Ambassadors Discuss Issue of Missing Persons

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Sri Lanka’s Ambassador to the Netherlands, A.M.J. Sadiq, today hosted a meeting of ambassadors from Asia in The Hague to highlight the work of the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) and to discuss the issue of missing and disappeared persons in the region.

ICMP first worked in Asia when its staff were deployed in Thailand to help identify victims of the December 2004 tsunami. Since then it has cooperated with the authorities in the Philippines and Vietnam. In October 2015 it launched a series of consultations in Sri Lanka with a view to contributing to a comprehensive, countrywide effort to account for the large numbers of missing from the 25-year conflict.

“The issue of missing persons is a global phenomenon, and Asian countries are unfortunately also affected by it, through a variety of causes,“ Ambassador Sadiq said, adding that since ICMP now has…

European Union Continues Support for ICMP

 

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EU Special Representative and Head of the European Union Delegation in Bosnia and Herzegovina Lars-Gunnar Wigemark, together with the Director of Finance and Administration of the International Commission on Missing persons (ICMP), Sanjiv Ray, have signed a contract under which the European Union will continue to fund the work of ICMP in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

The contract, worth 1 million Euros over a period of one year, will enable ICMP to assist Bosnia and Herzegovina in the complex process of locating and identifying missing persons from the conflicts of the 1990s.

“The European Union understands the essential need to account for the missing in Bosnia and Herzegovina,” Ambassador Wigemark said. “It helps fulfill the families’ right to know the fate and whereabouts of their missing relatives and to access their rights to justice.  Lasting peace and reconciliation cannot be achieved without a credible and…