News release

Iran/Iraq: High-level meeting tackles fate of people missing since 1980-1988 war

Geneva/Tehran/Baghdad (ICRC) – At a high-level meeting that took place in Geneva from 8 to 10 October under the auspices of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), representatives of Iran and Iraq took stock of the latest results achieved by the Tripartite Committee (Iran, Iraq and the ICRC) in its efforts to shed light on what happened to people who went missing in connection with the 1980-1988 Iran-Iraq War.

"This meeting provided an opportunity to remember the people who vanished, to respond to the suffering of those they left behind, and to find better ways of working together to finally determine what fate befell those who remain unaccounted for after so many years," said Robert Mardini, the ICRC's head of operations for the Near and Middle East, who chaired the meeting.

Over the years, the commitment and perseverance of both the Iranian and the Iraqi authorities have made it possible to clarify the fate of hundreds of prisoners of war and others who disappeared, and to exhume the remains of hundreds of people in joint operations carried out in Iraq.

"Each year that passes without news of their missing loved ones deepens the grief of thousands of families," said Mr Mardini. "It is in order to relieve their suffering that we are providing the authorities with all the support we can."

The meeting offered a chance to review the nine exhumation operations carried out jointly since 2013, and to tackle practical issues such as the implementation of decisions taken by the Joint Technical Working Groups over the past few months. It also addressed some of the challenges linked to the identification process, and provided an opportunity to discuss a plan of action for the year ahead.

In its capacity as a neutral intermediary, the ICRC is supporting 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.

For further information, please contact:
Nadia Dibsy, ICRC Geneva, tel: +41 22 730 37 23 or +41 79 447 37 26
Mojgan Mohammad, ICRC Tehran, tel: +98 919 830 11 61
Saleh Dabbakeh, ICRC Baghdad, tel: +964 790 191 6927