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Iraq/Kuwait: high-level meeting to clarify fate of people missing since 1990-1991 Gulf War

18-11-2009 News Release 09/234

Baghdad/Kuwait/Geneva (ICRC) – In an effort to clarify the fate of people missing in connection with the 1990-1991 Gulf War, representatives from Iraq, Kuwait and the Coalition (the United States, the United Kingdom, France and Saudi Arabia) are meeting in Kuwait on 18 November for the 32nd session of the Tripartite Commission, under the auspices of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).

" Hundreds of families are still living in painful uncertainty after more than 18 years. They have a right to know what happened to their missing relatives, " said ICRC delegate Jamila Hammami. " Only the authorities can give them answers. "

The Tripartite Commission and its Technical Sub-Committee were set up in 1991 and 1994 respectively, to resolve the fate of people missing in connection with the 1990-1991 Gulf War. So far, this mechanism has helped clarify the fate of more than 300 missing persons including 215 Kuwaitis, 82 Iraqis, 12 Saudis and people of other nationalities. The remains of several Iraqi soldiers were recently exhumed in Kuwait and will be repatriated.

" While it can be painful, receiving the remains of a loved one is very important for the family. It helps them to deal with the past, mourn their lost relative and maybe close that chapter in their lives, " added Hammami. " The ICRC will continue to support the authorities in their efforts to find out what happened to over 1,000 people still missing in connection with the 1990-1991 war, through our technical expertise and our role as a neutral and impartial intermediary. "

The ICRC is also supporting the efforts of the authorities to establish the whereabouts of thousands of people still unaccounted for as a result of the Iran-Iraq War (1980-1988). Since 2003, the organization has been training local forensic experts in the identification and management of human remains.

  For further information, please contact:
  Dorothea Krimitsas, ICRC Geneva, tel: +41 22 730 25 90 or +41 79 251 93 18
  Dibeh Fakhr, ICRC Iraq, tel: +962 65 52 39 94 or +962 777 399 614
  Fouad Bawaba, ICRC Kuwait, tel: +965 997 87 94 34