The Common Good
March 2008

Missing in Iraq

by Michael Berezowski, Alexis Vaughan | March 2008

For Iraqis, the scramble to find family members who are de­tained, kidnapped, killed, or simply lost is a harsh reality of war that often doesn’t make the headlines.

For Iraqis, the scramble to find family members who are de­tained, kidnapped, killed, or simply lost is a harsh reality of war that often doesn’t make the headlines. The Interna­tional Committee of the Red Cross is trying to address the situation of Iraqis who are missing.

“Each family is important. Each family is waiting for news of their loved ones,” says Karl Mattli, head of ICRC’s delegation for Iraq. “Some have been waiting for years and refuse to let go of their hope that the person they are looking for is still alive.”

375,000 to 1 million. The number of Iraqis estimated missing as a result of armed conflict over the last 30 years.

106,000. The estimated number of families internally displaced in Iraq since February 2006; two-thirds are thought to be women and children.

20,000. The approximate number of bodies brought to the Medical-Legal Institute in Baghdad between 2006 and June 2007. Nearly 50 percent of these were unidentified.

32,000. The number of detainees visited in 2006 by or through the International Committee of the Red Cross at 28 places of detention in Iraq.

Sources: “The Missing in Iraq” (ICRC, Aug. 29, 2007) and “Civilians Without Protection” (ICRC, Nov. 4, 2007).

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