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Iran/Iraq: redoubling efforts to clarify fate of missing from 1980-1988 war

11-01-2011 News Release 11/05

Tehran/Baghdad (ICRC) – Representatives of Iran and Iraq have concluded a high-level meeting held in Tehran under the auspices of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) on 9 and 10 January.

Within the framework of the Tripartite Committee (Iran, Iraq and the ICRC), they clarified the fate of missing persons, agreed on the handover of mortal remains, and committed themselves to speed up joint search and recovery activities for people missing in connection with the 1980-1988 Iran-Iraq War.

"The families of tens of thousands of people who went missing in the Iran-Iraq War still do not know what happened to their loved ones," said Eric Marclay, the ICRC's senior deputy head of operations for the Near and Middle East. "We already succeeded in previous meetings in determining what had happened to hundreds of missing persons, bringing relief to their loved ones, and now we are preparing to help repatriate further remains in the coming weeks." This process was created to address the issue of people missing in connection with the 1980-1988 Iran-Iraq War by a memorandum of understanding concluded in 2008 by Iran, Iraq and the ICRC.

"In its capacity as a neutral intermediary, the ICRC is providing support for the efforts of the Iranian and Iraqi authorities to account for those who went missing and inform the families," said Mr Marclay. The ICRC helps repatriate human remains between the two countries, provides training for forensic professionals and supplies specialized equipment for forensic laboratories in both Iran and Iraq.

"The discussions were constructive, and yielded concrete results," said Mr Marclay. "The ICRC commends the commitment and determination of the authorities on both sides to resolve this humanitarian issue. We remain strongly determined to help them."

For further information, please contact:
John Strick van Linschoten, ICRC Tehran, tel: +98 21 88 78 67 23 or +98 912 327 30 99
Layal Horanieh, ICRC Iraq, tel: +962 777 399 614