ICMP and Cyprus CMP Conclude Productive Partnership

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This week the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) provided a final report to the Committee on Missing Persons in Cyprus (CMP), detailing the outcome of their two-year partnership to establish an effective DNA identification system to resolve the fate of persons who went missing during the conflicts in the years 1963-1964 and 1974 in Cyprus.

The collaboration between ICMP and the Cyprus CMP was established to provide for DNA testing from unidentified skeletal remains, and to perform advanced DNA matching between the resulting new DNA profiles and the DNA profiles of family members of the missing. The family reference DNA database to be used for comparison was provided in anonymous form from samples that had previously been collected and tested in Cyprus. The computerized DNA family matching procedure was done at ICMP in a blind manner, fostering both objectivity and the principle of personal data protection.

ICMP has developed the…

ICMP Receives Turkish Grant

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The International Commission on Missing Persons has received a further grant of US$200,000 from the Government of the Republic of Turkey, as in previous years. This funding will support ICMP’s activities in Bosnia and Herzegovina and elsewhere.

“This donation is of great importance to ICMP – apart from its financial value it demonstrates Turkey’s commitment to supporting ICMP’s efforts to help Bosnia and Herzegovina address the issue of persons missing from armed conflict and crimes against humanity, regardless of their national or religious origin,” said ICMP Director-General Kathryne Bomberger. She described the Turkish funding as “an important contribution to future peace and stability.”

Turkish Ambassador Cihad Erginay said “The Government of the Republic of Turkey attaches significant importance to the issue of missing persons as a global matter. As the only specific organization regarding missing persons cases, we have been supporting ICMP from the very beginning. The Balkan region is one…

Global Conflicts Create Record Numbers of Missing

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A major Newsweek article on the emerging global challenge of missing persons cites ICMP as the acknowledged world leader in helping governments deal with the issue. The Newsweek report covers, among other things, the “worldwide first” this summer when leaders of Serbia, Montenegro, Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina, signed the ICMP Declaration on the role of states in addressing missing persons cases. By signing the Declaration, ICMP Director-General Kathryne Bomberger, notes, “the heads of state of countries that were the epicenter of a conflict, in which as many as 40,000 people went missing, formally recognized the legal, political, social and practical steps that states must take in order to help families of the missing locate and identify the remains of their loved ones”. The full Newsweek article can be accessed at http://www.newsweek.com/global-conflicts-create-record-numbers-missing-285274

 

Key Report on Missing Persons Translated into Arabic, Kurdish

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ICMP today published Arabic and Kurdish translations of the report on the proceedings of a major international conference on the missing held in The Hague at the end of 2013. The Report, entitled “The Missing: An Agenda for the Future”, provides an overview of the issue of missing persons globally and highlights recommendations made by conference delegates. The conference, held between 29 October and 1 November 2013, was the first of its kind and brought together more than 200 prominent policymakers, human rights activists, scientists and others.

 “The publication of Arabic and Kurdish translations will extend the reach and usefulness of this document. It will be accessible to stakeholders in Iraq and elsewhere. This is crucial because the document lays out steps that communities and countries can take in order to begin addressing the global problem of missing persons in an effective way,” said…

Sweden supports search and identification of missing persons

Marie Bergström, Counsellor at the Embassy of Sweden, and Kathryne Bomberger, Director-General of ICMP, sign agreement on ICMP’s Western Balkans program 2014-2016
Marie Bergström, Counsellor at the Embassy of Sweden, and Kathryne Bomberger, Director-General of ICMP, sign agreement on ICMP’s Western Balkans program 2014-2016

Sarajevo, 17 November 2014 – The Embassy of Sweden today signed an agreement with the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) for ICMP’s Western Balkans program 2014-2016. The agreement is worth 1.9 million Euros over the next two years. Sweden has been a donor to ICMP since 2002 and has through the years contributed to the organization’s crucial role in the region with 3.5 million Euros.

“The work of ICMP in the Western Balkans is important for the future of Bosnia and Herzegovina in supporting legal, operational and institutional capacities to address the missing persons issue effectively,” said Marie Bergström, Counsellor at the Embassy of Sweden.

With its support for the Western Balkans, Sweden maintains its commitment to the cause of missing persons. In the 2014-2016 program ICMP will continue to provide assistance to countries in the region to account for the missing.

“This is a targeted and substantial contribution that will…

A 21st Century Challenge

A mother of missing person pass through wall photos of disappeared persons in Sringar on world disappeared day
A mother of missing person pass through wall photos of disappeared persons in Sringar on world disappeared day

Sarajevo, 13 November 2014 – A new section of the ICMP website came on-line today, making available a massive volume of information on the issue of missing persons throughout the world. “The Missing” section examines the underlying forces – war, migration, organized crime, even climate change – that have turned the problem of missing persons into a major 21st century challenge. It explores the nature and scale of the problem, examines legal, social and political interpretations of what constitutes a missing person, and reviews in detail developments related to missing persons in more than 60 countries.

“This new feature represents a significant expansion of the information provided on the ICMP website, and it also represents a major contribution to analyzing and understanding a pressing global challenge,” said ICMP Director-General Kathryne Bomberger. “Societies recovering from the trauma of conflict, for example, cannot make progress towards reconciliation and recovery as long as…

Memorialization a Key Element in Dialogue Over Missing Persons

Nicolas Moll in ICMP HQ in Sarajevo
Nicolas Moll in ICMP HQ in Sarajevo

Memorialization is a key element in any public dialogue over missing persons, Dr Nicolas Moll said today on the second day of a seminar at the International Commission on Missing Persons in Sarajevo. He stressed that the location, design and wording of memorials pose complex challenges to societies seeking to heal wounds arising from conflict and human rights violations.

“Until the nineteenth century, memorialization tended to be focused on monarchs and military victories,” he said. “Even in the nineteenth century the names of soldiers were not important but this changed with World War One, when individual names – including the names of the missing – became important.”

Dr Moll cited the Thiepval Memorial in Northern France, which lists the names of more than 72,000 British and Commonwealth soldiers whose remains were never identified following the Battle of the Somme in 1916.

The period immediately after World War One saw a huge surge…

Initiatives will help efforts to Locate and Identify the Missing

ICMP representatives with visitors from the Croatian Ministry of Defenders, Office for Detained and Missing
ICMP representatives with visitors from the Croatian Ministry of Defenders, Office for Detained and Missing

ICMP-Ministry of Defenders of Croatia Joint Press Release

A Joint Identification Project between Croatia and ICMP was the focus of a meeting today at the International Commission on Missing persons (ICMP) in Sarajevo between Matthew Holliday, head of the ICMP Western Balkans Program and Minister for the Defenders of Croatia Predrag Matic.
Mr. Holliday said the success of the project demonstrated the possibilities for constructive cooperation among countries and agencies. “ICMP has been able to apply forensic and database management techniques in Croatia that have complemented the efforts of the Croatian authorities. It has been a productive partnership,” he said.

Mr Matic expressed his gratitude towards ICMP regarding the established cooperation along with all previous donations and added that “the cooperation established with ICMP contributes to the identification process in the Republic of Croatia and in neighboring countries as well. Croatia has identified over 80% of exhumed persons. This represents a high…

Transparency, Accountability and the Battle for Justice

Sister Conseulo Morales addresses CADHAC supporters.
Sister Conseulo Morales addresses CADHAC supporters.

CADHAC, a campaigning Mexican human rights group, has been short-listed for the prestigious annual Tulip Human Rights Award.

Citizens in Support for Human Rights (Ciudadanos en Apoyo a los Derechos Humanos – CADHAC), was founded in 1993 in the state of Nuevo León in Northeastern Mexico. Its activities have focused on helping people who have been wrongfully imprisoned, and families of the disappeared.

CADHAC has developed an innovative operating method that brings together families of victims, civil society and the authorities.

“Collaborative work makes the difference in CADHAC’s approach,” said CADHAC Director Sister Consuelo Morales. “All the actors – families of victims, authorities and organized civil society – working together in this mechanism of transparency, accountability and battle for justice are an exceptional example of collaborative practice. In a country like Mexico, civil society does not tend to trust the authorities and the authorities do not usually work or interact with civil…

A Global Response to a Global Challenge

Chilean Servicio Médico Legal experts meet staff at ICMP HQ.
Chilean Servicio Médico Legal experts meet staff at ICMP HQ.

Two forensic experts from the Government of Chile have completed a three-day fact-finding visit to Bosnia and Herzegovina, including meetings with staff at the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP). The visit reflects the emergence of a global response to the global challenge of missing persons, in which ICMP is playing a leading role.

The Servicio Médico Legal (SML) is the lead agency in identifying several thousand people who went missing in Chile during the period of military rule from 1973 to 1990. The Chilean authorities have adopted a systematic and law-based approach to finding the missing and to addressing the social tensions created by past human rights violations.

ICMP has been cooperating with the SML since 2008, providing DNA testing of 2,432 reference blood samples and 194 post-mortem samples from missing persons, and offering technical advice on DNA matching.

The visit by SML forensic experts Macarena Arias and Jorge Pinares was…