UN presses North Korea to account for abductions
The New York Times reported on 9 March that Marzuki Darusman, the UN Special Rapporteur on human rights in North Korea, has called for sustained international action to pressure North Korea into accounting for hundreds of foreign citizens it is believed to have abducted over several decades. In a report released on Monday, Darusman urged “sustained and resolute action” by the international community aimed at “shedding light on all cases of abductions” and returning those still alive to their countries of origin. His report, on strategies for resolving those cases, is to be presented next week to the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva. http://nyti.ms/1GmuAal
Croatia puts member of “Scorpions” paramilitary unit on trial
BalkanInsight reported on 9 March that a member of the “Scorpions” paramilitary unit has gone on trial in Osijek in Croatia, accused of helping to execute six Bosniaks…
Malaysia Airlines admits battery lapse on Flight 370
The Wall Street Journal reports that Malaysia Airlines today admitted that an expired battery on a locator beacon on Flight 370 had not been replaced, a lapse revealed in an interim report into the disappearance of the Boeing 777. The report, prepared by a team of 19 investigators from Malaysia and seven other nations including the US, Australia and China, said that the battery on the beacon had expired in December 2012 and no record was available to show that it was replaced. Flight 370 vanished from radar in the small hours of 8 March 2014, less than an hour into its flight to Beijing from Kuala Lumpur. http://on.wsj.com/1Bo6D1w
Indian state gets its first DNA profiling unit
The New Indian Express reported on 8 March that the Chief Minister of the eastern state of Odisha on Saturday inaugurated the state’s first DNA profiling…
Pakistan bans Baloch activist from US trip
The BBC reported on 5 March that Pakistani authorities have stopped a rights activist from the Balochistan region from travelling to a conference in the US. Abdul Qadeer Baloch and two other activists were prevented from boarding a flight at Karachi Airport because he is on an “exit-control” list. The 73-year-old campaigns for people whose family members have disappeared in the region’s overlapping conflicts. http://bbc.in/1B9TQkn
Lawyer working on missing persons cases shot in Karachi
The Samaa news portal reported on 5 March that a lawyer working on missing persons cases was shot and killed in Karachi on Wednesday. Ali Hasnain Bukhari, an advocate and a member of the Legal Aid Committee of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement, a major political party in Sindh Province, was shot by two men who escaped by motorbike. Bukhari was said to be working on missing persons cases related to…
Families of missing persons in Sri Lanka continue protests
The TamilNet news portal reported on 4 March on continuing protests in Sri Lanka over the fate of those who went missing during the 30-year conflict. Family members calling for an international investigation protested on Wednesday in front of government offices in Jaffna, following reports that the UN has acceded to the expressed wish of the government in Colombo to continue with a domestic rather than an international investigation into war crimes and missing persons in Sri Lanka. http://bit.ly/1M8bd6W
Yazidi survivors struggle to identify loved ones found in mass graves
The Breitbart news portal reported on 4 March on the aftermath of the assault by Islamic State, IS, on the Yazidi population in Syria and Iraq during the summer of 2014. After airstrikes forced IS to retreat, Yazidi survivors slowly began making their way home. Mass graves were discovered in Pirdya with…
Belgrade indicts five for war crime in Bosnia and Herzegovina
BalkanInsight reported on 3 March that the Serbian War Crimes Prosecutor’s Office has indicted five former Bosnian Serb fighters for killing 20 passengers who were abducted from a train in Strpci in Bosnia 22 years ago. The prosecutor’s office on Tuesday issued indictments against Gojko Lukic, Ljubisa Vasiljevic, Dusko Vasiljevic, Jovan Lipovac and Dragana Djekic, all former members of the Bosnian Serb armed forces, for their involvement in the abduction and killing of the civilian victims on 27 February 1993. The bodies have never been found. http://bit.ly/1DLhQr7
New Attorney General in Mexico
Venezuela’s TeleSur network reported on 3 March that former Mexican senator, Arely Gomez Gonzalez was formally sworn in as Attorney General (PGR) on Tuesday and has promised to give priority to high profile cases such as that of the 43 disappeared Ayotzinapa students. “The Ayotzinapa case is actually a…
Cambodia: Report documents government’s ongoing failure to implement ICCPR
The International Federation of Human Rights Associations (FIDH) said in a statement issued on 3 March that the Cambodian government has failed to comply with its fundamental civil and political rights obligations. The UN Human Rights Committee will examine Cambodia’s second periodic report on implementation of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, at a session in Geneva on 17-18 March. Among other things, FIDH argues that the Cambodian government has frequently used provisions of the 2010 Criminal Code, such as defamation, insult, or incitement, to harass, threaten, and arbitrarily detain human rights defenders, activists, and opposition politicians. It says trafficking of men and women for labor, mostly to Thailand and Malaysia, also remains a serious issue of concern. http://bit.ly/1DMal5L
Australia: Press Laos to respect rights
Human Rights Watch issued a statement on 2 March calling on Australia to use its…
ICMP’s Daily World News Digest brings together news stories dealing with enforced disappearances and missing persons cases from around the world. It offers a snapshot of daily events and over a longer period it highlights key trends.
Migration and Missing Persons
In February, the number of migrants who are lost on the dangerous journey from North Africa and the Middle East to Europe was a major theme. On 9 February the BBC reported that at least 27 people died of hypothermia after being picked up near the Italian island of Lampedusa. They were part of a group of more than a hundred who were found adrift in an inflatable boat about 160 kilometres from Lampedusa. The rescue vessel did not have facilities to protect the migrants from the elements. This, and reports later in February, drew attention to the impact of the decision late last year to replace Italy’s “Mare…
Representatives of associations of families of missing persons, the BiH Missing Persons Institute, the BiH Prosecutor’s Office, and the BiH Ministry for Human Rights and Refugees came together in a series of Town Hall meetings held throughout Bosnia and Herzegovina in February to discuss steps that must be taken in order to sustain the search for missing persons.
The meetings, organized by the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) in Tuzla (3 February), Brcko (4 February), Sarajevo (10 February), Mostar (12 February) and Banja Luka (17 February), focused on the recommendations contained in BiH, Missing Persons from the Armed Conflicts of the 1990s: A Stocktaking, published by ICMP in December 2014 The book-length Stocktaking Report brings together for the first time all of the relevant information on two decades of efforts to account for the missing. It examines specific issues in Lower Podrinje, Upper Podrinje, Herzegovina, Sarajevo, Posavina, Central Bosnia,…
Bojana Djokanovic examines gender roles in conflict, the ways in which these roles are perceived, and the corresponding impact that conflict has on men and women.
To rebuild societies after conflict and to achieve lasting peace, it is imperative that women become active participants in decision-making.
The experiences of women in dealing with war – and with the legacy of war – differ greatly from those of men.
Customarily, men are combatants – and in most conflicts they account for the overwhelming majority of combat casualties and missing in action; historically, men are more likely than women to be in positions of political and military authority before and during conflict, and men are more likely to negotiate peace.
Women often assume the role of principal breadwinner and head of household when husbands leave home to join (or escape from) the military; and women are overwhelmingly more likely to be victims of sexual violence.
UN says death toll in eastern Ukraine passes 6,000
The Globe and Mail carries an Associated Press report today noting that more than 6,000 people have died in eastern Ukraine since the start of the conflict almost a year ago, according to a report issued by the UN human rights office on Monday. The report cited “credible allegations” of arbitrary detention, torture and enforced disappearances, committed mostly by armed groups but in some instances also by the Ukrainian law enforcement agencies. The displacement of one million people has also increased the risk for women from sex traffickers, the report found. http://bit.ly/1E8NBzE
US moves to deport 150 Bosnians over war crimes
The BBC reported on 1 March that US officials want to deport 150 Bosnian immigrants who are believed to have been involved in war crimes during the 1992-95 war. Citing a report in the New York Times, it says 300 people…