Following on from the visit to Tripoli last week of British Prime Minister David Cameron, the British Ambassador to Libya H.E. Michael Aron announced today funding to the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) to assist the Government of Libya in its efforts to account for missing persons.
Following the recent conflict in Libya and years of enforced disappearances perpetrated by the former regime, it is estimated that up to 10,000 thousand persons went missing.
The British Government approved almost 650,000USD of funding last week. During his visit to Tripoli, Prime Minister David Cameron met Mervat Mhani of the Free Generation Movement (FGM), a Libyan NGO that deals with missing persons issues through their Mafqood (The Missing) project, and pledged UK support to assist and strengthen the Libyan Government’s efforts to resolve the issue of persons missing from the recent conflict. Thanks to this funding, ICMP will be able to carry out the DNA analysis of samples submitted to ICMP by Libyan authorities in an attempt to assist Libya in accounting for missing persons whose mortal remains were discovered in the high-profile case of the Bin Jawad mass grave.
“Resolving the issue of missing persons is key to restoring the rule of law and ensuring a peaceful and stable Libya. The United Kingdom understands the importance of this issue and it is why we are proud to support the work that ICMP is doing to help the Libyan authorities”, British Ambassador to Libya H.E. Michael Aron said today.
“We hope that funding from the British Government will enable us to help the Libyan Government account for missing persons. We also hope that our efforts will provide answers to the many Libyan families who continue to live in a state of uncertainty regarding the fate of their loved ones”, said ICMP Director General Kathryne Bomberger in ICMP’s HQ in Sarajevo on this occasion.
“The direct support of the United Kingdom to resolving the issue of missing persons in Libya comes as a huge incentive to our work. Libyan authorities are making huge efforts in dealing with this critical and complex issue and ICMP is helping greatly”, said Mervat Mhani of the FGM.
The United Kingdom has been a major supporter of ICMP since the year 2000 with grants of over 5 million USD to ICMP’s activities globally.
On November 12, 2012, the ICMP and the Libyan Government signed an agreement on cooperation to address missing persons cases from the recent conflicts as well as from the 42-year regime of Muammar Gaddafi. As part of the agreement, ICMP is providing assistance in the creation of a Libyan Identification Center (LIC) as the first, important step in enabling Libya to develop a sustainable process to work on the issue of missing persons. ICMP also provides comprehensive training for Libyan experts.
The Government of the United States and the Government of Denmark are also contributing to ICMP’s program in Libya and the Government of Libya is also providing important support.
The ICMP was created at a G-7 summit in 1996 and it is the only specialized international organization that addresses the issue of missing persons in all of its facets. ICMP has offices in the Western Balkans, Iraq, and Libya.