Malta joins pledge to increase efforts in finding missing migrants

Twitter / Maud Veith / SOS Mediterranee

Representatives of Cyprus, Greece, Italy and Malta met at the Headquarters of the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) in the Hague on Thursday. This was the second meeting of the Joint Process to further discuss cooperation on addressing the large number of people who continue to go missing on Mediterranean migration routes.

Despite the decrease in the number of arrivals in Europe, more than 500 persons are reported to have died or to have gone missing in the Mediterranean region since the beginning of 2019. Globally, 31,000 persons have been reported missing or deceased along migratory routes since 2014.

All four countries are main entry points for many migrants fleeing from war.

Italy did not sign the joint statement which was issued following the conclusion of the second meeting of the joint process. The representatives of Cyprus, Malta and Greece have welcomed the initiative to further explore cooperation, including identifying “focal points” in each country.

A year earlier, government representatives from Cyprus, Greece, Italy and Malta had discussed the possibility of initiating a Joint Process to Account for Persons Missing as a Result of Migration in the Mediterranean Region. ICMP has acted as the secretariat of the Joint Process and has facilitated the immediate objectives of the Joint Process following the meeting in June 2018.

In their joint statement, the three states reiterated that “Locating missing migrants requires effective cooperation among States in a range of fields, including improving the utility of available data, forensic and other technical aspects, and support to families of the missing”.