A group of politicians from the British Parliament, the European Parliament and the Grand National Assembly of Turkey visited the headquarters and the DNA laboratory of the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) in Sarajevo today. The goal of the visit was for the parliamentarians to learn about the wide range of ICMP’s activities towards resolving the issue of missing persons in the Western Balkans and in other parts of the world.
The visitors attended a presentation of ICMP’s work, including descriptions of ICMP’s institutional capacity building and forensic science activities. The visitors were informed about the ways in which ICMP provides assistance to courts in war crime cases and how ICMP’s information campaigns increase public awareness about the issue of missing persons. The delegation was also introduced to ICMP’s Missing Persons Online Inquiry Center that helps boost transparency in the search and identification process and provides the families who have provided blood reference samples to ICMP with up-to-date information on their cases. The delegation also toured ICMP’s DNA laboratory to learn about the techniques used in identification.
The visitors led by Tobias Ellwood MP included British parliamentarians Brooks Newmark MP, David Tredinnick MP, Stuart Andrew MP, Eric Ollerenshaw MP, Jacqui Doyle-Price MP, researcher Katherine Armitage, Gulsum Aytac, Political Advisor to Baroness Sayeeda Warsi, Naweed Khan, Special Advisor to Baroness Sayeeda Warsi Co-Chair of the British Conservative Party, as well as Turkish MPs Rıfat Sait, Hüseyin Bürge, Hakan Çavuşoğlu and Ayşenur İslam and members of the European Parliament Edvard Kozusnik from the Czech Republic and Daniel Hannan from Great Britain.
“It is a pleasure and an honor for ICMP to have hosted this delegation of British, Czech and Turkish politicians. All three countries have supported ICMP’s activities for many years and we are delighted to introduce these parliamentarians to our work”, said Adam Boys, ICMP’s Chief Operating Officer and Director of Western Balkans Programs.
The delegation’s visit was a part of the voluntary social action project in Bosnia and Bangladesh in 2012 known as “Project Maja” which is led by Baroness Sayeeda Warsi.
ICMP provides governments with technical assistance in locating and identifying missing persons, including the use of high-throughput capacity DNA analysis and forensic support in the fields of archeology and anthropology. Since November 2001, ICMP has assisted in the identification of 16,584 missing individuals from the region including 13,855 from Bosnia and Herzegovina.