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Iran/Iraq: Efforts continue to clarify fate of missing from 1980-1988 war

06-05-2013 News Release 13/84

Geneva/Tehran/Baghdad (ICRC) – High-level representatives of Iran and Iraq are meeting in Geneva from 6 to 8 May, under the auspices of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), to follow up on the progress and results achieved by the Tripartite Committee (Iran, Iraq and the ICRC) in its efforts to clarify what happened to people who went missing in connection with the 1980-1988 Iran-Iraq War.

"While the fate of hundreds Prisoners of War and Persons who disappeared during the Iran-Iraq war has already been determined, bringing relief to their families and enabling them to close a painful chapter in their lives, the families of tens of thousands of other missing people are still waiting to find out what happened to their loved ones," said Patrick Youssef, the ICRC's deputy head of operations for the Near and Middle East chairing this meeting. "The committee is still hard at work, but it faces many challenges in its search for human remains in an extremely harsh environment."

At the meeting, the committee will review the results of seven joint exhumation operations carried out since 2011. It will also seek ways of improving the safety of technical personnel in the field, the quality of the search and recovery work and the speed with which it is conducted.

The Tripartite Committee, set up by a memorandum of understanding signed in 2008 by Iran, Iraq and the ICRC, addresses the issue of people missing in connection with the 1980-1988 Iran-Iraq War. "We are very pleased with what has been achieved by Iran and Iraq, and by the dedication of both," said Mr Youssef. "We remain fully committed to providing all the support needed."

In its capacity as a neutral intermediary, the ICRC is assisting the efforts of the Iranian and Iraqi authorities by helping to repatriate human remains between the two countries, providing training for forensic professionals and supplying specialized equipment for forensic laboratories in both Iran and Iraq. So far, the efforts and determination of the authorities on both sides have led to the exhumation of around 800 sets of human remains.

For further information, please contact:
Dibeh Fakhr, ICRC Geneva, tel: +41 22 730 37 23 or +41 79 447 37 26
Mojgan Mohammad, ICRC Tehran, tel: +98 21 22 64 58 21-4 or +98 919 830 11 61


Tripartite Committee. Iranian delegation. 

Tripartite Committee. Iranian delegation.


Tripartite Committee. Iraqi delegation
© ICRC / T. Gassmann