Archive for the ‘Iraq's Missing’ Category

Iraq’s Missing visit to the International Commission on Missing Persons in Bosnia and Hercegovina

In Iraq's Missing, Mass graves on May 25, 2010 at 10:28 am

Dear Campaigners,

A representative of the Iraq’s Missing campaign recently visited Bosnia and Hercegovina (BiH), to tour the facilities of the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP). Based in Sarajevo, but with offices throughout BiH and in other countries, the ICMP specialises in DNA-assisted identification of bodies.

Sarajevo at dusk

The ICMP was established by an initiative of Bill Clinton at the G-7 summit in 1996 to support the Dayton Peace Accords, with a view “to ensure the cooperation of governments in locating and identifying those who have disappeared during armed conflict or as a result of human rights violations.” Since then, its efforts have led to the successful identification of over 15,000 people in BiH, and many others who died as a result of the Asian Tsunami, the September 11th attacks in New York, Hurricane Katrina, and other disasters and conflicts around the world.

Since establishing itself in BiH, the ICMP has significantly expanded its role in other countries, providing, for example, assistance in the form of training, to the Iraqi government.

The purpose of the visit was to gather information about the work of the ICMP in BiH and Iraq and to research the process of identification, to establish what degree the process is suitable for the situation in Iraq.

Iraq’s Missing visited the Podrinje Identification Project (PIP); located in Tuzla in the shadow of the Majevica Mountains, around a three-hour drive from the capital. Tuzla was once famous for it’s salt mines (the name “Tusla” derives from the Turkish word for salt). Following the massacre of over 8,000 Bosnian Muslims in Srebrenica (almost all of them male), the bodies were stored in the city’s abandoned salt mines, where they were attacked by rats and water.

Inside the PIP's storage room

The PIP was established to deal specifically with identifying the victims of this atrocity and storing the remains more appropriately.  At PIP forensic anthropologists and pathologists conduct detailed human remains analysis, overseen by a criminologist who coordinates the cases. Post-mortem examinations are combined with ante-mortem data (information provided by the families about their loved one’s condition before their death), personal effects and DNA match reports, and results are coordinated with local identification authorities to return identified remains to their families.

At present, there are around 500 sets of mortal remains stored at PIP.

Graves at the Potocari memorial

Tuzla is also home the information ‘hub’ of ICMP activities worldwide. The Identification Coordination Division (ICD) – housed in an old sports centre where killings took place during the war – is where samples of blood, data analysis and all case information is processed. Samples are then sent to laboratories where DNA testing takes place and missing persons files are compiled at the ICD.

All data and information is made anonymous by a process of bar code tracking which protects, amongst other things, the ethnic origin of the victim – something that should be replicated in any efforts to identify victims of war crimes and crimes against humanity in Iraq.

Plaque at Potocari calls for justice

Iraq’s Missing also had the pleasure of meeting with Hatidža Mehmedović, an outspoken member of a group of mothers who lost their loved ones in the massacre. She and her friends were vocal in pushing to get a memorial site built at Potocari, which is now home to more than 3,000 of the dead. At the memorial, a plaque (written in Bosnian/Croatian/Serbian, English and Arabic) reads: “In the name of God the most merciful, the most compassionate. We pray to almighty God, May grievance become hope! May revenge become justice! May mothers’ tears become prayers that Srebrenica never happens to no-one, nowhere!”


Son of Babylon director on Al-Jazeera’s The Fabulous Picture Show

In Iraq's Missing, Iraqi films, Son of Babylon on April 26, 2010 at 10:10 pm
Son of Babylon

Iraqi director Mohamed al-Daradji first appeared on The Fabulous Picture Show back in 2007, when we screened his first feature, Ahlaam, about three psychiatric patients in chaotic post-Saddam Baghdad.

It was one of the first films to be shot in Iraq after the American invasion began, and conditions could hardly have been more harrowing – the production team literally dodged bullets, and Mohamed was even kidnapped twice.

Mohamed’s latest feature, Son of Babylon, is also set just after the fall of Saddam in 2003. It follows a Kurdish boy, Ahmed, and his grandmother on a macabre road-trip as they search for Ahmed’s father, a soldier missing since the first Gulf war.

Their quest leads them to some of the mass graves where thousands of bodies have been discovered, and continue to be found – chilling evidence of Saddam’s bloody legacy.

Mohammed has used the film to help launch the ‘Iraq’s Missing’ campaign, which aims to identify the countless bodies still lying in mass graves.

He talks to FPS about the cast’s profound emotional journey while filming Son of Babylon, and the importance of forgiveness in Iraq today.

This episode of The Fabulous Picture Show can be seen from Thursday, April 29, at the following times GMT: Thursday: 0600; Friday: 0030, 0830; Saturday: 2330; Sunday: 0630, 2130; Monday: 1430; Tuesday: 0530, 1230; Wednesday: 0300; Thursday 0030.

Mobile cinema relief for Iraq

In Iraq's Missing, Iraqi films, Mobile cinema, Son of Babylon on April 6, 2010 at 3:43 pm

What can you do when nearly all of the cinemas in the country have been destroyed by bombs and warfare, obliterating a flourishing film industry? When people can no longer go to the cinema, you bring the cinema to the people: that was the reasoning that inspired Iraqi film maker Mohamed Al-Daradji in 2007. Although people laughed at the idea at the time, this summer his mobile cinema is touring Iraq to bring films to various locations.

Read the full article @ The Power of Culture.

IMC’s Mission Statement

In Iraq's Missing on April 5, 2010 at 12:16 pm

Missing persons: focus on Iraq

In Iran-Iraq War (1980-1988), Iraq's Missing on March 31, 2010 at 3:51 pm

During the Iran-Iraq war (1980-1988), the ICRC registered almost 40,000 Iranian and more than 67,000 Iraqi prisoners of war. Many of them were voluntarily repatriated, but tens of thousands of soldiers remain unaccounted for today.

Source: ICRC

Welcome to the Iraq’s Missing Campaign!

In Iraq's Missing on March 30, 2010 at 7:06 pm

Dear readers,

Welcome to the blog of the Iraq’s Missing Campaign, an international community engagement and action initiative that will communicate the extent of the genocide in Iraq over the past 40 years. We aim to inspire a high profile approach to human rights violations that Iraqis have suffered, which have gone largely unnoticed by the world.

So far there has been a deafening silence.

The Mass Graves Global Campaign, Iraq’s Missing, which will be led by the Iraq’s Missing Organisation in Iraq and in the UK, will draw its strength from the success of the feature film Son of Babylon, aiming to create a platform for international organizations to work together.

Son of Babylon exposed to the world Iraq’s hidden horrors, as filmmaker Mohamed Al-Daradji takes his audience on a journey through Iraq in 2003. Saddam Hussein has fallen and on hearing the news that prisoners of war have been found alive in the South, Ahmed, a young boy and his grandmother, Um-Ibrahim, set out to uncover the fate of the boy’s father, one of the many soldiers who never returned home after the 1991 Gulf War. From the mountains of the North to the southern sands of Babylon, as his grandmother struggles to accept an awful truth, Ahmed retraces the footsteps of a father he never knew.

At the Berlin Film Festival in February, Son of Babylon won both the Amnesty International Film Prize and the Peace Prize and was also part of the official selection for the Sundance Film Festival in January.

The film has already succeeded in creating a bridge of unity between the West and the Middle East, through the shared vision of Human Film (UK/NL), Iraq Al-Rafidain (IRAQ), CRM-114 (FRANCE), Cinema Production Centre (Palestine), Sundance Institute (US), UK Film Council, Screen Yorkshire, UK Trade & Investment (UK), Fond Sud & CNC (France), Hivos, Doen,  Nederland Fond and Rotterdam Media Fonds (Netherlands), Royal Film Commission (Jordan), Sunnyland Film ART, Mawred Fund (Eqypt), Pyramedia and ADACH (UAE): all coming together to support  one courageous filmmaker, Mohamed Al-Daradji.

The campaign hopes to secure the co-operation of governments and other authorities in locating and identifying persons ‘missing’ in Iraq. This will involve an expansive initiative with the film to raise international awareness and engage thousands of viewers in targeted action to put pressure on governmental and non-governmental organizations.

The Iraq Ministry of Human Rights estimates that more than 1.5 million have gone ‘missing’ as a direct result of war, sectarian violence and oppression over the last 40 years. Already, scores of thousands of bodies have been recovered from 300 mass graves in many areas of the country. The number of bodies recovered from mass graves will grow as more are discovered, which is sure to overwhelm the limited resources that aid organisations in Iraq can call upon.

The filmmakers hope that, working together, the Iraq’s Missing Campaign and Son of Babylon will communicate the extent of the genocide to a wide audience and are lobbying for the redirection of resources within Iraq, and from outside organizations, to fund the technology needed for the identification of the bodies in a more efficient way. IMC aims to raise global awareness of the magnitude of the crime of genocide in Iraq, to provide answers to families of victims, to build a mass graves memorial and a museum and to secure fairer compensation for victims and their families.

We intend to help and establish committed partnerships and work plans from organizations that can champion this campaign and put in place full infra-structures to tackle the mass graves found. We also would hope that the Iraqi people will form an integral part of the campaign and that their own local campaigns will spring up.

We are in the process of sorting out the website. It should be up-and-running soon at

A big thank you to all who have already contributed so much to the project, particularly Zainab Al-hariri and Dr. Ban Alkhairalla, and to the crew at Human Film Ltd. and their partners, without whom the campaign would not be possible.

There will be much, much more info to come, including specific ways in which you can contribute to campaigning.

Yours, in peace,

Daniel Pye

Campaign Manager, Iraq’s Missing Campaign

اهلابكم في صفحة حملة التوعيه للمقابر الجماعيه في العراق

عزيزي القارئ

اهلا بك على موقع التوعيه للمقابر الجماعيه بالعراق التي هي حمله عالميه من اجل الكشف عن حجم الماساة التي عاناها الشعب العراقي على قرابة اربعين عاما الماضيه و نحن نود من خلال هذه الحمله ان نسلط الضوء على حقوق الانسان التي انتهكت و معاناة العراقيين في وقت كان العالم غافلا عن ما كان يجري من اضطهاد

حتى الان لا يوجد الا الصمت على تلك الجرائم

الحمله العالميه للتوعيه بالمقابر الجماعيه التي يقودها كل من مؤسسات المفقودين في كل من العراق و المملكه المتحده تستمد قوة دعمها من نجاح الفيلم السينمائي ابن بابل

ابن بابل

من خلال هذا النجاح نامل ان نتمكن من القيام بانشاء قاعدة عمل مشترك عالميه من اجل توضيح حجم الجريمة المرتكبة بحق الشعب العراقي و السعي في الضغط على مؤسسات عالميه لكي تمد يد العون لكي يتم فتح المقابر و التعرف على الرفات باستخدام أفضل التقنيات المعتمدة عالميا ومن خلال مشاهدة الفيلم يامل فريق العمل ان يحظى بتعاطف الصحافه و الجمهور لانجاح الحمله و المساهمه من اجل ايصال راحة البال لملايين العوائل التي فقدت اعزاء لها في تلك المقابر

ابن بابل يسلط الضوء على ماسي العراق المخفيه حيث ياخذ المخرج محمد الدراجي المشاهد في رحله للعراق في شهر نيسان لعام 2003 ابان سقوط النظام فعندما تسمع ام ابراهيم الخبر و تصلها اخبار ان بعض السجناء القديمين قد اطلق سراحهم تقوم بالاعداد لرحلة البحث عن ابنها المفقود منذ حرب الخليج1991 مع حفيدها احمد.
ياخذنا الفيلم برحله من جبال الشمال الى صحراء بابل لتجد الجده نفسها امام حقيقة مره عليها الاستسلام لها ويكون احمد قد تتبع خطوات والده الذي لم يراه

حصل الفيلم على جائزتان في مهرجان برلين السينمائي العالمي لعام  ٢٠١٠. جائزة  منظمة العفو الدولية السينمائي كأفضل فيلم و جائزة نوبل للسلام للإبداع السينمائي في المهرجان. كما كان قد تم ترشيحه في مهرجان سندانس العالمي في بداية هذا العام

لقد نجح الفيلم بمد جسر التعاون و العمل المشترك بين الغرب و الشرق الاوسط من خلال الرؤيا المشتركة ما بين كل من مؤسسة الفيلم الإنساني)المملكة المتحدةهولندا,( مؤسسة عراق الرافدين للإنتاج السينمائي والتلفزيوني ) العراق ,  ( سي ار ام )114 فرنسا ( مركز الإنتاج السينمائي )فلسطين , (مؤسسة سندانس) الولايات المتحدة ( مؤسسة السينما البريطانية ومؤسسة مقاطعة يوركشر لدعم السينمامؤسسة المملكة المتحدة للتجارة و الاستثمار )المملكة التحده -( منظمة دعم سينما الجنوب و المؤسسة الوطنية  لدعم السينما )فرنسا و منظمة هيفوز و دون لدعم الثقافة ،و المؤسسة الوطنية لدعم السينما في هولندا و  المؤسسة روتردام ميديا لدعم السينما (هولندا)،تلفزيون اي ار تي العربي و منظمة المورد (مصر)، شركة بيراموفي و مهرجان الشرق الاوسط السينمائي (الإمارات) –الهيئة الملكية للأفلام (الأردن)- شركة المبيعات العالمية روسي فيلم (فرنسا) كل هذه الشركات و المؤسسات عملت من اجل دعم المخرج الشاب الطموح محمد الدراجي.

نحن نامل ان نتمكن من خلال حملتنا للوصول الى اكثر عدد ممكن من المؤسسات و المنظمات العالميه العامله و الغير عامله في شؤون المقابر الجماعيه في العراق و الاستفاده من نجاح الفيلم و البرامج الوثائقيه الملازمه له لكي يتسنى لتلك المنظمات من العمل المشترك بينهم لانجاح هذه الحمله

تقدر وزارة حقوق الانسان العراقيه بان عدد المفقودين في العراق خلال الاربعين سنه الماضيه يزيد على مليون مفقود و حتى الان تم فتح 300 مقبره جماعيه و العثور على 250 الف جثه و هذا الرقم ما زال في تزايد مع فتح مقابر جديده و بالتاكيد فان هذه الاعداد الضخمه ستثقل على الموارد و الامكانيات العراقيه المحدوده فلذلك فنحن من خلال الحمله نسعى الى توضيح حجم الجريمه المرتكبه بحق الشعب العراقي و السعي في الضغط على مؤسسات عالميه لكي تمد يد العون لكي يتم فتح المقابر و التعرف على الرفات باستخدام افضل التقنيات المعتمده عالميا

نحن نامل من خلال الحمله ان نقوم بتاسيس قواعد عمل مشتركه مع منظمات عالميه من اجل تبني هذه الحمله و العمل في ايجاد افضل السبل لفتح تلك المقابر كما نامل ان يكون للشعب العراقي الدور الاساسي في هذه الحمله من خلال تفعيل حملات التوعيه المحليه

نحن حاليا في صدد تصميم موقعنا الالكتروني على العنوان

نود هنا ان نشكر كل من ساهم و لا زال لانجاح الحمله و بالاخص كل من السيده زينب الحريري و الدكتوره بان الخيرالله و فريق عمل مؤسسة الفيلم الانساني و شركائهم:

فانجاح هكذا عمل لن يكون ممكنا من دون هكدا تعاونHuman Film Ltd.

ترقبوا المزيد من المعلومات و الاخبار بخصوص الحمله بالاضافه الى معلومات حول سبل تعاونكم و اشيراككم في تفعيل الحمله

و لكم مني جزيل الشكر

و السلام عليكم

دانيال باي

مدير حملة التوعيه بالمقابر الجماعيه