Soldiers' remains returned to Iraq and Iran

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Posted by Sadie from ? ( on Monday, May 19, 2003 at 10:53AM :

18-05-2003 Press Release 03/32

Soldiers' remains returned to Iraq and Iran

Geneva (ICRC) On 18 May, staff of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) based in the southern Iraqi city of Basra returned to the Iranian authorities the mortal remains of 45 Iranian soldiers killed in the Iran-Iraq war.

At the same time, the ICRC handed over to British forces in Basra the remains of 84 Iraqi soldiers killed in action and prisoners of war, also from the same conflict. The British will return the remains to the soldiers' families in Iraq. The operation took place at the border checkpoint outside the Iranian town of Shalamshah.

British forces discovered the Iranian bodies in early April on an Iraqi military base in southern Iraq. In facilitating their repatriation, the ICRC acted as a neutral intermediary between the British, as an occupying power in Iraq, and the Iranian authorities.

This follows a similar operation on 12 May, when the ICRC repatriated the remains of two Iraqi soldiers killed in the Iraq-Iran war. Delegates handed them over to the British authorities in Basra, who will return them to the families concerned.

These events highlight the plight of other families desperate to obtain information about missing loved ones. All possible steps must be taken to provide them with answers. It is therefore essential that the occupying forces secure all newly identified gravesites together with documents relating to mortal remains, in accordance with international humanitarian law.
Further information:
Tamara Al Rifai, ICRC Geneva, tel. ++41 22 730 27 56 or ++41 79 244 64 14
Isabelle Bourgeois, ICRC Basra, tel. : ++ 873 762 377 085
Maryam Kashefi, ICRC Tehran, Tel.: ++ 98 21 878 55 03

-- Sadie
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