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Iran/Iraq: speeding up efforts to account for 1980-1988 war missing

28-10-2010 News Release

Geneva/Tehran/Baghdad (ICRC) – Representatives of Iran and Iraq today concluded a high-level meeting held in Geneva under the auspices of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), marking further progress in determining what happened to people missing in connection with the 1980-1988 Iran-Iraq War.

The meeting, which started on 27 October, was the first of its kind following the signature in October 2008 of a memorandum of understanding between Iran, Iraq and the ICRC aimed at expediting the search for information on people previously registered as, or presumed to be, prisoners of war and on others who have gone missing, and at identifying human remains.

"We very much welcome the progress achieved, and the commitment and determination of the authorities on both sides," said Eric Marclay, the ICRC’s senior deputy head of operations for the Near and Middle East.

Since 2008, as a result of the joint efforts of the Iranian and Iraqi authorities undertaken with ICRC support, the mortal remains of more than 250 persons have been repatriated between the two countries under ICRC auspices, and information has been obtained on the fate of more than 2,000 missing persons. In addition, the ICRC has helped to train forensic professionals in the identification and management of mortal remains, and has provided specialized equipment for forensic laboratories in both Iran and Iraq.

"Over 20 years have passed since the war ended, and tens of thousands of Iranian and Iraqi families still do not have closure, as they still do not know what happened to their missing loved ones," said Mr Marclay. "While the primary responsibility for obtaining and providing information lies with the Iranian and Iraqi governments, the ICRC remains strongly committed to supporting them in their efforts to achieve this aim."

For further information, please contact:
Layal Horanieh, ICRC Iraq, tel: +962 777 399 614
John Strick van Linschoten, ICRC Tehran, tel: +98 21 88 78 67 23 or +98 912 327 30 99
Dorothea Krimitsas, ICRC Geneva, tel: +41 22 730 25 90 or +41 79 251 93 18