More than 2,000 migrants from Libya rescued by Italian coastguard
Agence France-Presse reports today that the Italian coastguard launched a massive operation on Sunday to rescue more than 2,000 migrants in difficulty between the Italian island of Lampedusa and the Libyan coast, according to local media. Some 2,164 migrants coming from Libya had to be saved from a dozen boats, Italian media reported, citing the country’s emergency services. Last year, more than 3,200 people died while attempting to reach Italy by boat from North Africa. The United Nations has described the sea crossing as the most dangerous route in the world. http://bit.ly/1Dx2fiv
UN commission criticizes Mexico authorities for widespread disappearances
The Jurist website reported on 14 February that the UN Committee on Enforced Disappearances’ report on Mexico, published on 13 February, has found that the authorities are involved in the enforced disappearance of citizens and has called for a probe into…
Europe must open borders to migrants, UN official says
The Toronto Star reported on 12 February that following the drowning of hundreds of migrants off the Italian island of Lampedusa this week the UN Special Rapporteur for Human Rights and Migrants has called on the EU to create “a meaningful refugee settlement program that will put human smugglers out of business.” Francois Crepeau told the paper that EU attempts to seal borders will continue to fail and more migrants will lose their lives at sea if fleeing refugees aren’t given the right to settle where they wish. http://on.thestar.com/1Do4eFK
Campaign to Free Syrian Detainees
The Free Syrian Voices (www.free-syrian-voices.org) coalition issued a statement on 12 February announcing a campaign for the release of peaceful Syrian activists held by the Syrian government and by armed groups. The statement notes that UN Security Council Resolution 2139 of 22 February 2014 strongly condemns the arbitrary…
Mostar, 12 February 2015: The BiH Missing Persons Institute (MPI) is producing remarkable results, Sanja Mulać of the MPI said today at a Town Hall meeting organized by ICMP in Mostar.
“I want to stress that despite the MPI’s limitations, a majority of persons that were registered as missing in Herzegovina at the end of the conflict have been found and identified and we remain committed and we are continuing to work on this process,” Ms Mulać said, adding that “This can be seen by the extraordinary results made during the process of revision of post-mortem remains from Sutina mortuary.”
The meeting brought together representatives of associations of families of missing persons, the MPI, the BiH Prosecutor’s Office, and the BiH Ministry for Human Rights and Refugees to discuss what has been done to resolve missing persons issues in Bosnia and Herzegovina so far, and what has to be done in…
As many as 300 feared dead in new Mediterranean tragedy
UNHCR on 11 February said it was “shocked” at evidence that some 300 migrants and refugees, mainly from Sub-Saharan Africa, may have died after setting off from the coast of Libya in four dinghies at the weekend. “This is a tragedy on an enormous scale and a stark reminder that more lives could be lost if those seeking safety are left at the mercy of the sea. Saving lives should be our top priority. Europe cannot afford to do too little too late,” said UNHCR Europe Bureau Director Vincent Cochetel. http://bit.ly/1ynswtf
EU member states “must hang their heads in shame” as hundreds die at sea off Italy
Amnesty International issued a statement on 11 February saying the European Union and its member states “must hang their heads in shame” following reports that as many as 300 migrants may have drowned off…
Croatian General Accused of Inciting Violence
Balkan Insight reported on 10 February that a Zagreb-based youth NGO has filed criminal charges against wartime Croatian General Branimir Glavas, accusing him of inciting violence and hatred at a rally to celebrate his release from jail in Bosnia and Herzgeovina in January after serving four years of a prison sentence for committing war crimes in Osijek in Croatia. http://bit.ly/1vjba07
Pakistan Supreme Court calls for joint effort to trace missing persons
The Express Tribune newspaper from Pakistan reported on 11 February that Pakistan’s Supreme Court has asked state and provincial authorities to launch coordinated efforts for the recovery of missing persons and to address the issue of unidentified bodies abandoned in different parts of the country. “There should be an effective mechanism so that whenever a dead body is found, the relatives of the missing persons should be contacted to identify it,” the Supreme Court…
10 February 2015: The BiH Prosecutor’s Office is committed to the work of searching and identifying missing persons, Deputy Chief Prosecutor Gordana Tadic said today, pointing out that since 2013 the number of prosecutors working on missing persons cases has grown from one to 35.
Ms Tadic was speaking at a Town Hall meeting organized by ICMP at the Hotel Sarajevo in Sarajevo. The meeting brought together representatives of associations of families of missing persons, the BiH Missing Persons Institute (MPI), the BiH Prosecutor’s Office, and the BiH Ministry for Human Rights and Refugees to discuss what has been done to resolve missing persons issues in Bosnia and Herzegovina so far, and what has to be done in the future.
Ema Cekic, from the Association of Families of Missing Persons, Vogosca, called for a common approach by BIH institutions, including the MPI and the State Prosecutor’s Office. “Cooperation among the associations…
Migrants die of hypothermia after Lampedusa boat rescue
The BBC reported on 9 February that at least 27 migrants have died of hypothermia after being picked up near the island of Lampedusa, according to the Italian coast guard. They were part of a group of 105 people found on board an inflatable boat about 160 kilometres from the Italian territory. In October 2013, 366 migrants lost their lives when the fishing boat they were travelling in capsized off the coast. In response, Italy established a search and rescue mission called Mare Nostrum, but it was disbanded a year later. The European Union now runs a border control operation, called Triton, with fewer ships and a much smaller area of operations. http://bbc.in/1AdZwK7
Mexico defends probe of 43 missing students
AFP reported on 9 February that the Mexican attorney general’s office has rejected criticism of its conclusions in the case of the 43…
Independent Argentine panel criticizes Mexican probe of missing students
The Wall Street Journal reported on 8 February that the independent Argentine forensic team investigating the disappearance and presumed killing of 43 students in the Mexican state of Guerrero in September has identified irregularities in the investigation of the case by the Mexican authorities. The Argentine Forensic Anthropology Team, brought in by the parents of the students to verify the government’s investigation, released its report late Saturday, concluding that the government seemed to be trying to make the physical evidence fit the testimony of alleged participants in the killing of the students and the burning of their bodies. http://on.wsj.com/1uuBfOR
150 people reported disappeared in Piedras Negras, Mexico
The Telesur network from Venezuela reported on 7 February that in the last 18 months more than 150 people have been reported as missing in the small city of Piedras Negras in the northern border…
6 February 2015: Senior government officials and legal experts from Iraq completed a three-day seminar in The Hague today that focused on the use of forensic evidence in court-led processes regarding mass graves and missing persons.
The seminar brought together legal experts from domestic and international courts to assess and strengthen the capacity of the Iraqi justice system to address the issue of the missing effectively, and to formulate specific recommendations for legal reforms that will facilitate progress in this area.
The seminar was organized as part of an initiative of the Iraqi Ministry of Human Rights (MHR).
The seminar examined ways of
- developing the standing of forensic evidence within Iraqi law to enable it to serve as primary evidence;
- strengthening the role of prosecutors regarding the collection of forensic evidence;
- harmonizing the Law on Mass Graves, the Law on Forensics (amended 2013) concerning the Medical Legal Institute, and criminal procedure law;
Mexico to implement a law on enforced disappearances by June
The Latin American multimedia platform teleSUR reported on 4 February that the Mexican authorities have made a commitment to draft and enact a law on enforced disappearances by June. Mexico currently does not have such a law, despite the fact that the country has experienced a surge in enforced disappearances as a result of the war on drug cartels launched by former President Felipe Calderon in 2006. http://bit.ly/1C4zLei
Ban Ki-Moon calls on Kosovo to set up war crimes court
The InSerbia web portal reported on 5 February that UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has called on the Kosovo authorities to speed up the establishment of a war crimes court. Ban encouraged Belgrade and Pristina to engage in serious dialogue, and noted that in the three months to 15 January “the responsible authorities in Belgrade and Pristina continued to pursue new sources of…