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Iran/Iraq: significant step forward in search for missing persons from 1980-1988 war

16-10-2008 News Release 08/189

Geneva/Baghdad/Tehran (ICRC) – A memorandum of understanding aimed at clarifying the fate of persons missing in connection with the 1980-1988 war was signed today in Geneva by the governments of Iraq and Iran and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).

Since the end of the war, the ICRC has supported both governments in their attempts to determine what happened to all those still unaccounted for. But this is the first time that such a document has been signed by both of the countries, together with the ICRC.

" The Iran-Iraq war inflicted wounds, left scars, and caused immense suffering both among Iranians and Iraqis. We welcome the document signed today as an important step towards easing the heavy burden of thousands of bereaved Iraqi and Iranian families who still do not know what happened to their missing relatives, " said Béatrice Mégevand-Roggo, the ICRC's head of operations for the Middle East and North Africa.

The document establishes a clear framework for collecting information and sharing it between the two countries, and for handing over mortal remains. These tasks will be performed jointly by experts from both countries with ICRC support.

" The ICRC fully supports this process, and we will not stop following up on this issue until every family finds closure, " said Béatrice Mégevand-Roggo. " On both sides, most of the families have been waiting for years, and we will do our utmost to uphold their right to know what befell their loved ones. "

Read also: Twenty years after the end of the Iran-Iraq war, tens of thousands of combatants still unaccounted for   For further information, please contact:
  Dorothea Krimitsas, ICRC Geneva, tel: +41 22 730 25 90 or +41 79 251 93 18
  Hicham Hassan, ICRC Iraq, tel: +962 777 399 614
  Katayoon Hossein Nejad, ICRC Tehran, tel: +98 21 88 78 67 23 or +98 912 146 00 34