The Steering Board of the Missing Persons Institute (MPI) will be appointed next week at the latest, announced the Minister for Human Rights and Refugees of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Dr Safet Halilović, today following a meeting with Her Majesty Queen Noor, Commissioner of the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP). The members of the MPI Board of Directors joined the meeting where implementation of the Law on Missing Persons and the Fund for Support to Family Associations was discussed. Minister Halilović announced that the agreement on appointing the highest ranking candidates will be respected. “The appointment will be on the agenda of the Council of Ministers either this week or next week”, he said.
The issue of missing persons from the conflicts in Bosnia and Herzegovina remains one of the biggest human rights issues facing the country today. ICMP Commissioner, Her Majesty Queen Noor, stressed the importance of implementing the Law on Missing Persons without delay in meetings with Government officials and representatives of the relatives of missing persons during last two days.
In a discussion with the families of the missing, she applauded their joint efforts in pursuing truth and justice, and trying to cooperate and support each other in their work.
“After so many years of waiting for answers these family members of the missing are tired and are losing patience”, said Her Majesty Queen Noor in the meeting with the families, adding that she was impressed by joint activities taken by different associations. “It is important for society that you are united and strong in requesting that government institutions do their job”.
ICMP has provided assistance to Bosnia and Herzegovina for over ten years. This assistance includes technical assistance through providing archeologists and anthropologists to assist at mass grave sites and through using DNA to make accurate identifications. Today, ICMP has made over 11,000 DNA-assisted identifications in the region, of which 9,000 relate to Bosnia and Herzegovina and over 4,000 alone relate to Srebrenica.
“While progress has been made, a great deal of work lies still ahead”, said ICMP Commissioner, Her Majesty Queen Noor.
Of the 30,000 persons missing at the cessation of the conflict in Bosnia and Herzegovina, there are still approximately 13,000 persons missing.
Establishing the MPI and fulfilling the State obligations towards the families of the missing represents not only a much needed confirmation of a commitment from the government, but also the most effective tool in resolving the fate of many thousands those still missing.