Click to download Tribute to His Majesty PDF

The Phuket News Kata Rocks The Phuket News Outrigger Koh Samui Beach Resort
The Phuket News World News
The Phuket News Phuket | Thailand | World | Business | Q&A | Weird World XML, RSS, Feed
The Phuket News The Phuket News
The Phuket News

Never-ending vigil: millions of families yearning to bury their dead

NETHERLANDS: Nameless migrants laid to rest in unmarked scrubland, murder victims dumped in mass graves, desperate searches for the missing after natural disasters. Around the world, millions of families wait in vain to bury their dead.


AFP

Sunday 14 August 2016, 02:00PM


A Kosovo Albanian woman stands by the grave of her son during a ceremony to mark the Day of Missing Persons at the cemetery in the village of Meje. Photo: Armend Nimani/AFP
A Kosovo Albanian woman stands by the grave of her son during a ceremony to mark the Day of Missing Persons at the cemetery in the village of Meje. Photo: Armend Nimani/AFP

“You cannot close the book on the life of a loved one if you do not know the truth, or what the reasons were, why people went missing,” said Salvadoran diplomat Augustin Vasquez Gomez.

His country, where some 8,000 people are still missing after years of civil war, has become one of the latest nations to sign a treaty pledging to support the work of the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP).

In the Philippines, also a signatory to the treaty, there are still 2,000 missing after Typhoon Haiyan struck in November 2013.

And while finding and identifying the missing killed in conflicts or disasters is an age-old problem, no overall global figure has ever been determined.

The numbers are thought to be “staggering” – between 250,000 and a million in Iraq alone stretching back to the early days of the regime of former dictator Saddam Hussein, said Kathryne Bomberger, ICMP director general.

The organisation, which finances its painstaking research through voluntary donations, held a recent seminar on its work as it moves its headquarters from Sarajevo to The Hague.

Born out of the conflicts in former Yugoslavia and set up in 1996 by then US president Bill Clinton, the ICMP has used sophisticated DNA matching techniques to identify more than 70 per cent of the 40,000 who went missing in the Balkans wars.

Now it is shedding its ad-hoc status to become a recognised international organisation – the only one dedicated exclusively to accounting for the missing.

It hopes to open a new lab in the Dutch city in the coming months, to complement its first one in Sarajevo which already has the capacity to handle up to 10,000 DNA cases a year.

Demand is growing. And as the conflicts in Syria and Iraq feed a new wave of refugees, hundreds of whom have perished at sea lacking any kind of documents, a new challenge is emerging.

After five years of civil war and a huge exodus from the country, there are an estimated 60,000 missing Syrians.

“There’s nothing we can do in Syria for the moment, but we’re already losing time in terms of collecting data from survivors,” Ms Bomberger said.

Lucky 13 Bar and Grill

She’s hoping to try to move into the refugee camps, build up trust with families there and start organising a valuable data base.

Every day Syrian families are contacting the organisation for help finding relatives, and the ICMP is already working with Italian authorities to try to identify the dead washing up on Italy’s shores.

In Iraq on Mount Sinjar, it has been working to identify mass graves from the Islamic State group’s persecution of the Yazidi people, protect the sites and catalogue the DNA of the dead.

And that’s without mentioning conflicts in Africa or Asia, where there are also many families waiting to claim their dead.

“Part of what we want to do and focus on is demographics, for once to try to get a handle on how many people are missing in the world,” said Ms Bomberger.

“Most countries don’t have accurate figures because of the highly political nature of these conflicts.”

Identifying the dead is also crucial, if those behind the world’s worst crimes are to be successfully held to account, said Kweku Vanderpuye, senior trial lawyer at the International Criminal Court.

“Often, the perpetrators of those crimes operate under the principle: no bodies, no crime,” he said.

For those left with no grave to mourn over, there is an overwhelming sense of loss, of farewells left unsaid, a raw grief which does not fade as the decades pass.

“Our truth is hidden in mass graves,” said Munira Subasic, president of the Mothers of Srebrenica, who lost 22 members of her extended family in the 1995 genocide in the Bosnian enclave.

She told the seminar how one Bosnian Muslim mother died in Srebrenica a few days ago, still mourning her son whose body has never been found.

“Her last words were that if she had been so lucky to find just one little piece of bone she would have wrapped it in silk and kept it for herself. And it would have made her the happiest person in the world,” said Ms Subasic.

 

 

The Phuket News
The Phuket News
Comment on this story
* Please login to comment. If you do not have an account please register below by simply entering a username, password and email address. You can still leave your comment below at the same time.
Comments Here:
Username:
Password:
E-mail:
CAPTCHA
    Forget your password?

Be the first to comment.

The Phuket News
The Phuket News The Phuket News The Phuket News
The Phuket News
Share this
The Phuket News
Have a news tip-off? Click here
The Phuket News
Related stories
The Phuket News
Phuket community

Recent Comments


Phuket Waterworks Authority announces more water shut-offs

Splendid! Of course this are typical works you wait for to do it during high season, right?...(Read More)


Phuket beach erosion protection project put on hold

Joe12, I do hope you have a reply yo "Engineer's" comment. I wait with bated breath....(Read More)


Phuket beach erosion protection project put on hold

This design for erosion defense is only suitable for retaining walls such as in a klong or river and also requires impacted backfill for stability. ...(Read More)


Patong Mayor unveils plans for Loma food centre as vendors agree delayed eviction

@yvonne: You are right, people like "street food", but there is no shortage of places to find it. Especially in Patong there are street vend...(Read More)


No charges over Aussie tourist injured in Patong parasail plunge

I have asked before why, if no businesses are allowed on the beach, are jet skies and parasailing still allowed? I formally challenge the governor to ...(Read More)


New Phuket underpass to add more delays to reaching airport

I have to agree, totally unnecessary. Traffic flow is fine as it is....(Read More)


Dhammajayo ‘won’t get bail’

Kurt: So he was deviating from his non functioning? Ok, makes perfect sense now...not....(Read More)



New Phuket underpass to add more delays to reaching airport

Phuket Airport is a mess for coming and going traffic, due to renovation. Now another nearby location becoming traffic wise a disaster for 3 years. ...(Read More)


Army hunts down Phuket taxi driver for refusing airport tourist passenger

Maybe I have been lucky but I have used taxis from Phuket airport to Cherng Talay many times and never had a problem - always on the meter, courteous ...(Read More)

The Phuket News
Bangkok Hospital Phuket
PHUKET NEWS
Phuket
Thailand
World
Business
Q A
Weird World
ARCHIVE
POLL
CURRENCY
WEATHER
PHUKET TIDE TABLE
The Phuket News PHUKET LIFE
Phuket Arts
Phuket Community
Phuket Culture
Phuket Dining
Phuket Education
Phuket Entertainment
Phuket Environment
Phuket Health
Phuket People
Phuket Technology
Phuket Travel
Photo Galleries
COLOURING BOOK
The Phuket News PHUKET SPORT
Phuket
Thailand
World
SURF REPORT
PREDICTIONS
The Phuket News PHUKET CLASSIFIEDS
Phuket Buy and Sell
Phuket Jobs
Phuket Property
Phuket Cars and Boats
Phuket Community
Phuket Services
SEARCH CLASSIFIEDS
POST CLASSIFIED
The Phuket News The Phuket News PHUKET EVENTS
Phuket Event listings
Phuket Event calendar
Buy Tickets
POST EVENT
The Phuket News PHUKET DIRECTORY
Phuket Bars, pubs and clubs
Phuket Hotels and villas
Phuket Restaurants
Phuket Yellow Pages
POST LISTING
The Phuket News BARGAINS
The Phuket News ABOUT US
The Company
Distribution points
Subscribe
Advertise with us
Pay for advert
Contact us
CONTESTS
Content Google Map
Site map
Australian Visa Services
 
Currency - The Phuket News   Weather Report - The Phuket News   Surf Report - The Phuket News
LinkedIn - The Phuket News   Twitter - The Phuket News   YouTube - The Phuket News   Facebook - The Phuket News
Copyright © 2016 Class Act Media. All rights reserved. | Website usage terms and conditions | Privacy and Confidentiality Statement.