Three decades of conflict have left hundreds of thousands of families struggling to find out what happened to their missing loved ones. Abandoning the search is not an option. Since 1980, the ICRC has spared no effort to put an end to their anguish. Operational update, March-May 2011.
"Iraq is currently one of the countries with the highest number of missing persons and, as a result, with the highest number of families seeking information on their missing relatives," said ‘Dika Dulic’, the ICRC delegate in charge of issues relating to missing persons in Iraq. A lack of clear statistics, however, makes it difficult to accurately establish the true size of the problem.
How do I report my relative as a missing person?
The Ministry of Human Rights is responsible for collecting information about any person reported missing in connection with armed conflict or internal violence. The ministry has offices in each Iraqi governorate. In northern Iraq, the Ministry of Anfal is in charge of this issue.
The Department for missing persons, prisoners of war and human remains has two hotline numbers:
+964 781 375 7020
+964 781 375 7021
and can also be contacted by e-mail
Information provided by Basra’s Al-Zubair Centre on soldiers exhumed or otherwise known to be dead can be found on the Ministry of Human Rights website:
www.humanrights.gov.iq You can also contact Al Zubair Centre directly.
If you believe that one of your relatives has been killed, you can contact Baghdad’s Medico-Legal Institute by telephone:
+964 78 137 57 655 or by e-mail
In an effort to alleviate the agony of those still waiting for news, the ICRC, in its role as a neutral intermediary, facilitates dialogue between the parties involved in the 1980-1988 Iran-Iraq War and in the 1990-1991 Gulf War, who have an obligation under international humanitarian law to account for those who went missing.Baghdad resident Hayat has led a sad life since her husband disappeared on 8 April 2003. "I lost hope," she said. "In the past nine years I have searched every prison. I ended up convincing myself that my husband Abdallah must have died."
In an effort to alleviate the agony of those still waiting for news, the ICRC, in its role as a neutral intermediary, facilitates dialogue between the parties involved in the 1980-1988 Iran-Iraq War and in the 1990-1991 Gulf War, who have an obligation under international humanitarian law to account for those who went missing.
Baghdad resident Hayat has led a sad life since her husband disappeared on 8 April 2003. "I lost hope," she said. "In the past nine years I have searched every prison. I ended up convincing myself that my husband Abdallah must have died."
In April, the remains of 17 Iranian soldiers killed in the 1980-1988 Iran-Iraq War were handed over from the Iraqi to the Iranian authorities under ICRC auspices at the Shalamja border crossing, near Basra.
As a neutral intermediary, the ICRC facilitates the dialogue between the parties who were involved in the Iran-Iraq war and the Gulf war and who carry the responsibility to clarify the fate of persons still unaccounted for. This includes:
supporting authorities in the collection of information
facilitating transmission of information between the parties chairing meetings
facilitating joint missions in the field and the handover of human remains
The ICRC continues to provide training and other support for the Ministry of Human Rights, Basra’s Al-Zubair Centre of Iraq and Baghdad’s Medical-Legal Institute.
Bringing aid to people facing hardship
Many people in Iraq are still struggling to earn a living and support their families. Between March and May, the ICRC:
Distributed over 8 million Iraqi Dinars through cash-for-work scheme, to 450 vulnerable displaced people and residents of Deralok in Dohuk governorate;
Awarded 108 grants to disabled people and women-headed households in Ninawa, Kirkuk, Basra, Missan, Erbil, Baghdad and Sulaimaniya, enabling them to start small businesses and regain economic self-sufficiency.
Distributed individual food and hygiene parcels, including essential household items, to 2475 internally displaced households, benefiting some 14850 people, in the group settlements of Ninawa, Kirkuk and Wasit;
Following heavy rainfalls and consequential flooding in Ninawa, Erbil and Salah Al-Din governorates in April, the ICRC assisted affected/displaced households, distributing: 4984 blankets, 634 towels, 1340 hygiene parcels, 1315 tarpaulins, 317 kitchen sets,
763 food parcels, and 11.1 metric tons of rice. The ICRC assistance also reached families affected by the floods in Rabea and Baaj districts.
Assisting health-care facilities