The UK has pledged $650,000 to the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) to help Libya find and name those who disappeared under the old regime.
The funding followed through on a commitment UK Prime Minister David Cameron made during his visit to Tripoli last week, according to ICMP.
“Cameron met Mervat Mhani of the Free Generation Movement (FGM), a Libyan NGO that deals with missing persons issues through their Mafqood (The Missing) project,” said the ICMP. “He pledged UK support to assist and strengthen the Libyan government’s efforts to resolve the issue of persons missing from the recent conflict.”
It said that the money will be spent on analysising DNA samples from the Bin Jawad mass grave, recently supplied to ICMP by the Libyan authorities.
The British Ambassador to Libya, Michael Aron, said that the UK understood the importance of resolving cases of missing persons. “We are proud to support the work that the ICMP is doing to help the Libyan authorities,” he added.
In November last year Libya signed an agreement with the ICMP to work together on identifying human remains. There are thought to be some 10,000 missing persons in Libya, including those who disappeared during Qaddafi’s 42-year rule, as well as people from the revolution.
As part of the agreement, ICMP will help Libya set up a Libyan Identification Centre (LIC), which will include a DNA laboratory system, where samples can be collected and stored for analysis.
Director General of ICMP Kathryne Bomberger said: “We hope that our efforts will provide answers to the many Libyan families who continue to live in a state of uncertainty regarding the fate of their loved ones.”
Mhani said that the Libyan government was making huge efforts to deal with missing persons and added: “The direct support of the United Kingdom to resolving the issue of missing persons in Libya comes as a huge incentive to our work.”
American and Danish governments are also contributing to the ICMP’s programme in Libya.