June 24, 2024

Enhancing Ukraine’s efforts to locate missing persons: ICMP roundtable

On June 19, in The Hague, representatives from Ukraine, foreign experts, and international community members gathered at the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) Headquarters to discuss Ukraine’s strategy to locate tens of thousands of missing persons, including illegally deported children.

Daria Herasymchuk, Advisor to the President of Ukraine on Children’s Rights and Rehabilitation, reaffirmed Ukraine’s commitment to protecting its children and ensuring their safe return, emphasizing the need for international cooperation to hold violators accountable.

Queen Noor, an ICMP Commissioner, emphasized the importance of a Central Database to consolidate data on missing persons, collected by various agencies. She also highlighted the need for continuous communication with families and an Outreach Campaign to gather genetic data from family members inside and outside Ukraine.

Artur Dobroserdov, Ukraine’s Commissioner for Missing Persons, stressed the urgency of proper data collection and storage, noting that reliable information diminishes over time. Sara Huston from Northwestern University discussed the role of technology in reuniting families and the need for a global DNA database system.

Maksym Maksymov, Head of Projects at Bring Kids Back UA, called for coordinated international efforts to pressure Russia into returning deported children. He emphasized that the scale of Russian atrocities against Ukrainian children demands extensive work from the government, civil society, and international partners.

The roundtable followed the ICMP Board of Commissioners' annual meeting and included discussions with state representatives to amend the ICMP Treaty, facilitating membership and funding.