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Iran/Iraq: ICRC helps repatriate remains of 38 Iraqi soldiers

01-02-2011 News Release

Geneva/Tehran/Baghdad (ICRC) – The remains of 38 Iraqi soldiers killed during the 1980-1988 Iran-Iraq War were repatriated today at the Shalamjah border crossing, near Basra, under the auspices of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).

This brings to 290 the number of persons whose remains have been repatriated between Iran and Iraq with ICRC help since 2008. However, around 60,000 members of the armed forces of both countries, including several hundred once held as prisoners of war, are still unaccounted for.

The remains were handed over by the Search and Recovery Committee of the Iranian Armed Forces to the Iraqi Ministry of Human Rights in the presence of representatives of the Iranian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. ICRC delegates were also present on each side of the border as the handover took place.

"Uncertainty about what happened to those who went missing is unbearable for the families," said Rania Machlab, an ICRC delegate based in Tehran who was present at the handover. "The ICRC will spare no effort to ease their suffering."

At a high-level meeting held in Tehran under the auspices of the ICRC in early January, representatives of Iran and Iraq committed themselves to speed up joint search and recovery activities for people missing in connection with the 1980-1988 Iran-Iraq War. Within the framework of the Tripartite Committee, set up in accordance with a memorandum of understanding signed in 2008 by Iran, Iraq and the ICRC, they continue to work diligently to account for those who went missing in connection with the war. They fully recognize the ICRC's status as a neutral intermediary.

For further information, please contact:
Layal Horanieh, ICRC Iraq, tel: +962 777 399 614
John Strick van Linschoten, ICRC Tehran, tel: +98 21 22 64 58 21 – 4 or +98 912 327 30 99
Dorothea Krimitsas, ICRC Geneva, tel: +41 22 730 25 90 or +41 79 251 93 18