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30 October 2013 - Media release

Global disaster victim identification efforts need permanent structure says INTERPOL Chief

THE HAGUE, Netherlands – A permanent structure for the deployment of Disaster Victim Identification (DVI) assistance at any time anywhere in the world is essential, INTERPOL Secretary General Ronald K. Noble has told an international conference on missing persons.

Speaking at the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) conference, ‘The Missing: An Agenda for the Future’, Mr Noble said INTERPOL had responded to this need by developing the permanent Platform for DVI which will create a rapid deployment model for Incident Response Teams to provide the necessary expertise whenever and wherever required.

Secretary General Noble said experience had shown that field deployments are complex and require a uniform response when providing onsite support following a disaster, whether natural or man-made, and that a permanent structure would significantly speed up the international response and results.

“The combined experience of INTERPOL and the ICMP is impressive and has shown that when disaster strikes any country, we need to be able to deploy a team immediately and know that we will have the resources behind us to complete the DVI process from beginning to end,” said Secretary General Noble.

“Countries should not have to develop both capacity and expertise for sporadic events. We should never find ourselves in the situation with many victims remaining to be identified but not enough support to do the kind of thorough identification required,” added the INTERPOL Chief.

Mr Noble highlighted assistance previously provided by INTERPOL and the ICMP following a number of devastating events, including the 2004 Asian tsunami, Hurricane Katrina in 2005, the 2008 Philippines ferry disaster, the 2010 Haiti earthquake and most recently, the Westgate shopping centre terrorist attack in Kenya.

Secretary General Noble said INTERPOL was now strengthening its partnership agreement with the ICMP to support the permanent platform for DVI and called on other stakeholders to join these efforts to ensure a ‘rapid, sustainable solution’ in disaster response, especially in providing answers to victims’ families.

The three-day ICMP conference (30 Oct – 1 Nov) will address three main areas in relation to missing persons: armed conflict and human rights abuses, including enforced disappearances; natural and man-made disasters; and other causes including, organized violence (drugs, human trafficking, terrorism) and migration.

With keynote addresses from ICMP Chairman Ambassador Thomas Miller, Queen Noor of Jordan, President of the Republic of Croatia Ivo Josipović and David Tolbert, President of the International Center for Transitional Justice, the meeting is also looking to create a set of recommendations to shape a future global agenda in addressing the issue of missing persons in all its facets.