DR Congo authorities seek to explain discovery of mass grave
AFP reported on 7 April that Democratic Republic of Congo authorities on Tuesday denied that a mass grave discovered in the capital Kinshasa contained the bodies of opposition supporters. “The bodies of 421 people were buried on 19 March in the capital’s Maluku district,” Kinshasa’s interim governor Luzolanu Mavema told reporters. “Among these were around 300 stillborn babies and foetuses abandoned in streams, rivers and even hospitals.” He added that there were 23 abandoned bodies, those of 34 “drifters” and 64 unidentified corpses. Mavema said the government has “absolutely nothing to hide”, and dismissed rumors that the common grave might contain the bodies of government opponents who were killed during protests and mass arrests in January. The protesters had denounced moves they claimed were designed to delay presidential elections and allow President Joseph Kabila to remain in power in defiance…
Mass graves of Iraqi soldiers found in Tikrit
The BBC reports today that the suspected mass graves of up to 1,700 captured Iraqi soldiers killed by Islamic State (IS) have been found in the city of Tikrit. The sites are near the former US Army base, Camp Speicher. Iraqi forensic teams have begun to excavate 12 graves following the city’s recent liberation from IS. After the June 2014 incident, IS posted videos and pictures of the execution of the mostly Shia soldiers on social media. Survivors say the militants questioned the victims to identity those who were Shia before killing them. The exhumations began just days after Tikrit fell to a combination of the Iraqi army and Shia militia following a month long siege. DNA testing will be used to identify the bodies once they have been exhumed, as many families have never had confirmation of their relatives’ death. Shia…
Srebrenica Mayor Camil Durakovic and ICMP Director-General Kathryne Bomberger met today at ICMP’s headquarters in Sarajevo. Mayor Durakovic briefed Director-General Bomberger on arrangements for the ceremony to mark the 20th anniversary of the Srebrenica Massacre on 11 July.
Director-General Bomberger noted that, since its inception in 1996, ICMP has been actively involved in the identification of the missing from Srebrenica; it played a key role in setting up the Potocari Memorial Center and it has worked continuously with families to help them find their loved ones and to ensure that they are able to assert their rights under the law.
Mayor Durakovic stressed the importance of the anniversary as a means of telling the truth of what took place at Srebrenica. He added that efforts must continue in order to ensure that the roughly 1,000 victims who are still missing from Srebrenica are accounted for.
Iraqi army finds massacre burial sites near Tikrit
PressTV reports today that Iraqi forces that have retaken the town of Tikrit from Islamic State have found a mass grave near the river containing hundreds of soldiers; identify cards have been found with the victims. The report says Iraqi authorities have prevented anyone from opening the graves, ensuring that a team of experts will be able to inspect the site and transfer the bodies to Baghdad for DNA testing. http://bit.ly/1IY6q86
Mass Graves Found in Boko Haram Towns
NBC news reported on 1 April that UN officials have cataloged mass graves, the murder of enslaved women and girls, and the use of children as cannon fodder by Boko Haram. UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Raad al-Hussein did not specify if any of the girls reportedly killed were those abducted in April 2014 from the town of Chibok. Coalition forces of Nigeria,…
Oslobodjenje, 21 March 2015
You recently met with Mr. Mladen Ivanic, after which the public statement noted that you shared the view that we need to find a solution and speed up the stalled process of tracing and identifying the missing. Is this one of your regular meetings with members of the Presidency, or is there a special reason?
I met with Chairman of the Presidency Ivanic on 24 February to brief him on the progress that has been made by Bosnia and Herzegovina and other countries in the region in addressing the issue of missing persons. Mr. Ivanic has on many occasions and in different capacities helped the process of accounting for the missing and I wanted to ask for his continued support for an effective, transparent and non-discriminatory effort and alert the Presidency to some of the pressing issues currently affecting this effort.
Bojana Djokanovic examines the different ways in which gender perspectives of enforced disappearance have an impact on women.
When faced with the disappearance of a missing loved one, in addition to emotional pain and the psychological anguish of not knowing the fate of a missing relative, women have to deal with the social, economic, legal and familial implications of these disappearances – and deal with these issues in circumstances that are often highly discriminatory.
Article 2 of the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced
Disappearance (ICCPED) defines enforced disappearance as “…the arrest, detention, abduction or any other form of deprivation of liberty by agents of the State or by persons or groups of persons acting with the authorization, support or acquiescence of the State, followed by a refusal to acknowledge the deprivation of liberty or by concealment of the fate or whereabouts of the disappeared person, which place…
ICMP’s Daily World News Digest (link to http://www.icmp.int/category/daily-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.
Missing Persons in Asia
In March, a series of stories appeared dealing with the significant missing persons problem in Asia, as a result of migration in many instances and, in many other instances, as a result of governments circumventing judicial process in the name of public security.
The Eurasiareview reported on 1 March (http://bit.ly/1FMSxqV) that as many as 36 million people may be victims of trafficking worldwide, and two-thirds of this number may be from Asia. The article noted that profits from worldwide forced labor and sex trafficking may be as high as $150 billion annually. A report in the Washington Post (http://wapo.st/1FuDPY1) on 16 March added further…
During the month of March, ICMP organized roundtables in Tuzla, Mostar, and Sarajevo to discuss ways of implementing recommendations in the BiH Stocktaking Report. The report, published by ICMP in December, describes two decades of efforts to account for the missing and examines specific issues affecting communities in every part of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
The roundtables brought together representatives of family associations and the authorities as well as academic and legal experts.
Key recommendations in the Stocktaking Report include:
- Bosnia and Herzegovina must remain vigilant in accounting for the remaining 8,000 persons missing from the conflict by ensuring that its institutions, including the Missing Persons Institute and the BIH Prosecutor’s Office remain strong and engaged;
- Bosnia must fully implement the Law on Missing Persons, which provides for the Central Records on Missing Persons (CEN), as well as for a Fund benefiting the families of the missing;
- Bosnia should explore new approaches to locating gravesites,…
In the first two months of 2015 almost 8,000 people arrived in Italy following the dangerous sea crossing from North Africa. This figure was dramatically higher than the one recorded in the same period in 2014, and the number of people who did not complete the crossing was dramatically higher too. In the first two months of 2014, 15 would-be illegal immigrants lost their lives in the Mediterranean. Close to 600 are believed to have perished in January and February this year.
There is no mystery as to why more and more people are following what is now the world’s most dangerous migration route – and why so many are dying in the attempt.
Fighting in Syria, Iraq, Libya and parts of sub-Saharan Africa, including Congo and Chad, has caused millions to seek asylum, first in neighboring countries and then in Europe – and in the case of Libya,…
Passover for missing persons held in Tel Aviv
The Jerusalem Post reported on 1 April that a full Passover seder service was conducted on Wednesday morning in the middle of Rabin Square in Tel Aviv, to highlight the plight of missing persons and their families. Signs bearing the images of missing persons were arranged around the Passover seder table that was set up by the Forum of Families of Missing People in order to draw public attention to the issue. The organization is seeking to anchor in law the status of families, by obtaining official recognition of their situation, as well as financial assistance, recognition of the costs of searching for their loved ones, and assistance for their psychological well-being. http://bit.ly/1bPNkGh
Forced disappearance of students in Egypt
Ikhwan, the official website of Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood, reported on 31 March that the number of students subjected to enforced disappearances is increasing, according…