Middle East and North Africa

For more than four decades countries in the Middle East and North Africa have faced a significant missing persons problem as a result of political repression, wars and civil strife. The Lebanese civil conflict, the Iran-Iraq war and the more recent hostilities in Iraq, Syria and Libya have created an upsurge in the number of missing persons. ICMP has been involved in solving cases directly and has helped authorities and civil society organizations to establish mechanisms and networks that can address this challenge in a sustained and effective way.

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Iraq is affected by very high numbers of missing persons. Estimates run from a 250,000 to one million people missing from decades of conflict and human rights abuses. Today there are millions of relatives of the missing in Iraq who struggle with uncertainty surrounding the fate of a loved one. ICMP is working to help Iraq […]

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On 2 August 1990, Iraq invaded Kuwait, which it annexed two days later. After seven months of Iraqi occupation, a US-led coalition evicted the Iraqi forces. During the occupation, Kuwait contends that more than 600 of its citizens went missing, while Iraq, for its part contends that over 1,000 Iraqis disappeared in Kuwait. A so-called […]

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Green Line, Beirut 1982 Uploaded by FunkMonk) [CC-BY-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons


As many as 17,400 people are estimated to have gone missing during the civil conflict in Lebanon between 1975 and 1990. The failure to account for the missing is a continuing obstacle to post-war reconciliation. It has also been a disruptive factor in relations between Lebanon and its neighbors. Although some legislative and administrative steps […]

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According to the Ministry for the Families of Martyrs and the Missing (MFMM), there are estimated to be up to 10,000 persons missing in Libya. This number includes persons missing as a result of the 2011 conflict, as well as those who went missing during Muammar Gaddafi’s 42-year rule, including in the 1977 war with […]

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By DFID - UK Department for International Development [CC-BY-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons


The United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (UNOHCHR) reported in 2012 that enforced disappearances were used by the ruling regime in Syria to eliminate opposition groups and to instill a climate of fear. The armed opposition, including the Free Syrian Army, were also found to be responsible for abductions and the killing […]

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By Ob.helm (Own work) [Public domain, CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0) or GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html)], via Wikimedia Commons


The Country Report on Human Rights Practices in Turkey compiled by the US State Department’s Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor for 2013 notes that the Turkish authorities have made some progress in investigating previous cases of disappearances, many from the early 1990s and quotes a report by the Human Rights Association of Turkey(HRA), stating […]

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