Peru’s Efforts To Deal with Legacy of Conflict

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By Kevin Sullivan

When the UN Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances (WGEID) visited Peru in the middle of 2015, WEIGD Chief Ariel Dulitzky noted that – at the current rate of location and identification of missing persons – it would take more than 100 years to account for all of the individuals still missing from the civil conflict of the 1980s and 1990s. Of 15,000 victims of enforced disappearance, around 1,300 have so far been accounted for.

According to a number of studies, in the war between Government security forces and left wing rebels (principally Shining Path and the Tupac Amaru Revolutionary Movement) the armed forces were responsible for most of the illegal detentions and killings, with disappearances being used as a matter of policy at the height of the insurgency. However, only a handful of military officers have…

Enforced Disappearances in Egypt

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Bojana Djokanovic considers the rising number of reported enforced disappearances in Egypt

Following the events that accompanied the resignation of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak at the beginning of 2011, and the military overthrow of  President Mohamed Morsi in July 2013, there have been continuous allegations by activists inside and outside Egypt that the regime of President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi is responsible for a rising tide of enforced disappearances and human rights violations – to the extent that the government would appear to be using enforced disappearance as an instrument of policy.

During the 2011 revolution, 1,200 persons were reported missing. In January 2013 a committee set up by President Morsi to investigate the 2011 events presented an 800-page report detailing multiple incidents including cases where citizens were detained by the armed forces and subsequently buried in unmarked graves.

Human Rights Watch reported in…

Republic of Serbia Signs ICMP Treaty

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The Republic of Serbia has become the ninth country to sign the Agreement on the Status and Functions of the International Commission on Missing Persons.

ICMP has been helping the authorities in Serbia to account for missing persons since 1996. In 2001 ICMP signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the former Federal Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, and after this ICMP assisted in the excavation and identification of persons missing from the Kosovo conflict. ICMP opened an office and established a DNA laboratory in Belgrade in 2002. The laboratory was handed over to the Serbian authorities in 2006. In 2014, ICMP renewed its agreement with the Government of Serbia Commission on Missing Persons through an exchange of letters relating specifically to the provision of assistance in locating, recovering and identifying missing persons related to the conflict in Kosovo,…

Chile Signs ICMP Treaty

Ambassador María Teresa Infante of the Republic of Chile, Ambassador Elpidoforos Economou of the Republic of Cyprus, and ICMP Director-General Kathryne Bomberger at the signing of the Agreement on the Status and Functions of the International Commission on Missing Persons, The Hague, 14 December 2005.

Chile today became the seventh country to sign the Agreement on the Status and Functions of the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP).

In December 2014 the Agreement was signed by the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Sweden, Belgium and Luxembourg; last month it was signed by El Salvador, and this morning in addition to Chile it was signed by the Republic of Cyprus. The Agreement recognizes ICMP as an international organization tasked with assisting countries in their efforts to address missing persons cases from conflict, human rights abuses, disasters, organized crime, migration and other causes. The Agreement does not…

More remains can be found; More identifications can be made

The review of BiH mortuaries being carried out under the jurisdiction of the relevant Prosecutors’ Offices with the full cooperation of the police, pathologists and the authorities, the Missing Persons Institute and ICMP demonstrates the determined efforts to investigate missing persons cases , 20 years after the conflict, ICMP Director-General Kathryne Bomberger wrote in a column that appeared on Sunday (13 December) in the daily newspaper Dnevni Avaz.

“It also highlights the very important fact that more than two decades after the war, with more than 70 percent of the missing accounted for, the effort to account for those who are still missing remains absolutely essential,” Ms Bomberger added.

For the last two years, the NN (no name) Working Group has been systematically reviewing cases of unidentified remains in BiH mortuaries, moving from one mortuary to the next. It has so far reviewed cases in Sutina, Nevesinje, Gorazde, Tavnik, Visoko and…

The Republic of Cyprus Signs ICMP Treaty

Ambassador María Teresa Infante of the Republic of Chile, Ambassador Elpidoforos Economou of the Republic of Cyprus, and ICMP Director-General Kathryne Bomberger at the signing of the Agreement on the Status and Functions of the International Commission on Missing Persons, The Hague, 14 December 2005.

The Republic of Cyprus today became the eighth country to sign the Agreement on the Status and Functions of the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP).

In December 2014 the Agreement was signed by the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Sweden, Belgium and Luxembourg; last month it was signed by El Salvador, and this morning it was signed by Chile and then Cyprus.

The Agreement recognizes ICMP as an international organization tasked with assisting countries in their efforts to address missing persons cases from conflict, human rights abuses, disasters, organized crime, migration and other causes. It does not create new international…

Yazidi Women in Mass Graves

In mid-November 2015, two mass graves were discovered in the northwest of Iraq. They were believed to hold the remains of Yazidis executed by Islamic State. One grave contained 70 elderly women while 60 younger women and children were found in the other. The larger grave is one of the largest ever found in the area.

The Yazidis or Yezidis are a Kurdish-speaking people who live principally in northern Iraq. They number from 500,000 to 600,000, with another 200,000 settled in other parts of the world. Their 4,000-year-old faith draws upon Zoroastrianism, Islam and other religions: this unique heritage, however, has long made the Yazidis victims of persecution in the region, where they are…

DNA and the Issue of Trafficked Children

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By Bojana Djokanovic

ICMP was invited to participate and share expertise at a film screening and discussion organized in Washington on 8 December by the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). The event focused on the use of DNA in identifying migration-related enforced disappearances. The film shown was a documentary on the trafficking of migrant children from South America, “The Living Disappeared” directed by Alexa Barrett.  ICMP Forensic Sciences Director Thomas Parsons was a member of the discussion panel after the film screening.

“The Living Disappeared” gives a first-hand account of trafficking, from people who migrated as children, who were victims of kidnappers or smugglers, and who made the journey across the desert. It depicts the human side of the complex problem of identifying the dead and preventing human trafficking.

The film also describes the push factors within countries of origin that cause…

Creating Space for Hope

 

 ICMP Director-General Kathryne Bomberger, El Salvador Ambassador to the Netherlands Aida Luz Santos de Escobar, and Head of the Treaties Division of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands  J. Damoiseaux at the Signing of the Agreement on the Status and Functions of the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP)

By Kathryne Bomberger

On 18 November El Salvador became the sixth country to sign the Agreement on the Status and Functions of the International Commission on Missing Persons. ICMP is the only international organization exclusively dedicated to helping governments and others account for those who go missing as a result of conflict, crime, migration, human rights violations and natural disasters.

The ICMP Agreement gives signatories a role in ICMP’s development and strategy. In December 2014, it was signed by the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Sweden, Belgium and Luxembourg.

El Salvador’s accession will…

Microsoft Supports ICMP

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Microsoft and ICMP announced in November that Microsoft has donated US$474,791 in software to ICMP. This will allow ICMP to maintain and enhance its Identification Database Management System (iDMS) software and add efficiency to its global communications.

This is the fifth major donation by Microsoft to ICMP. It donated software in 2008, 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2015 under its global “Unlimited Potential” initiative, which provides software support to non-profit organizations.

“ICMP operates a state-of-the-art iDMS and runs programs in many different parts of the world,” said ICMP Director-General Kathryne Bomberger. “Microsoft’s assistance has been and continues to be of paramount importance to us as we develop our human identification database and expand our communications network to manage projects separated by large distances.”

The iDMS is a specialized software solution developed by ICMP for managing large scale missing persons programs. It has a set of powerful…