The Chairman of the newly established British charity “Remembering Srebrenica” Dr. Waqar Azmi OBE visited the headquarters of the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) in Sarajevo to discuss how to incorporate ICMP’s approach to addressing the issue of persons missing from armed conflict and human rights abuses into his initiative, “Lessons from Srebrenica”.
“I am impressed with the work of ICMP and its efforts in assisting governments of the region of the Western Balkans in accounting for over 70% of the estimated 40,000 persons who went missing during the conflicts of the 1990s, including almost 90% of those missing from Srebrenica. Our aim at “Remembering Srebrenica” is to encourage people in the UK to learn about the consequences of hate and discrimination. We would like to work with local organizations in the UK to establish commemorations in different cities and towns, encourage school projects and local community relations, so that people have the opportunity to play their part in helping to create a better and safer society for everyone,” said Dr. Azmi.
Following an initiative of Dr. Azmi and the UK Government, prominent UK politicians, academics and representatives of civil society participated in an event on 11 July 2013 to mark the 1995 fall of Srebrenica. Prime Minister David Cameron and Foreign Secretary William Hague attended the event and stated that the anniversary is a moment to remember the victims and their families whose agony still continues every day.
The ICMP is the only specialized international organization of its kind that addresses the issue of missing persons in all of its facets. The ICMP was created at a G-7 Summit in 1996 to work with governments and others to help them locate and account for persons missing from the wars of the 1990’s in the former Yugoslavia. Its mandate and activities were subsequently expanded in 2003 to empower the organization to work globally and to respond to cases of disasters and other causes.
The ICMP provides a comprehensive approach to assisting governments. It helps build the institutional infrastructure of afflicted states. It works with civil society to ensure their active and meaningful engagement. It provides technical assistance to governments in locating, recovering and identifying the missing. It supports the work of the judicial sector. As part of its technical assistance, ICMP maintains the world’s largest, most efficient DNA laboratory system dedicated exclusively to identifying missing persons.