Monthly Archives: May 2015

Daily World News Digest, 29 May 2015

Myanmar rejects sole blame for Southeast Asian migration crisis

The BBC reports today on discussion at an ASEAN conference in Bangkok to address the Southeast Asian migration crisis. Thousands of people have fled Bangladesh and Myanmar by boat, heading south to Thailand, Indonesia and Malaysia. The UN estimates about 2,600 migrants are still stranded out at sea. The crisis began earlier this year when Thailand cracked down on overland migrant routes, forcing people smugglers to use sea routes instead. Myanmar’s foreign ministry chief Htin Lynn said his country would co-operate in dealing with human trafficking, but he added that on “this issue of illegal migration of boat people, you cannot single out my country. Finger-pointing will not serve any purpose.” Thai Foreign Minister Tanasak Patimapragorn said “the root causes that motivated these people to leave must also be addressed.” Friday’s talks include representatives from 17 countries affected by “irregular migration…

Daily World News Digest, 28 May 2015

Malaysia investigates police over links to mass graves

The BBC reports today that Malaysia is investigating 12 policemen suspected of involvement in human-trafficking camps found in the remote north of the country. Four of them had been arrested during various police investigations since early last year, said Deputy Home Minister Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar. Authorities said 139 graves had been found on the border with Thailand. The route is used by people-smugglers bringing migrants from Myanmar and Bangladesh into Malaysia. The migrants are mainly Rohingya Muslims fleeing persecution in Myanmar or economic migrants from Bangladesh.

Enforced disappearances remain major problem in Asia

UCA News from the Philippines reports today on the issue of enforced disappearances.  “Asia has the most number of cases of enforced disappearances around the world,” said Mary Aileen Bacalso, secretary general of the Asian Federation against Involuntary Disappearance (AFAD), on the occasion of this year’s observance of…

Effort to Account for the Missing Must Continue

BiH Minister for Human Rights and Refugees Semiha Borovac said today that the new authorities are committed to sustaining the effort to account for the missing and implementing the recommendations in the International Commission for Missing Persons (ICMP) BiH Stocktaking Report.

Ms Borovac was speaking at the conclusion of an ICMP presentation at the BiH Parliament. She said that while Bosnia and Herzegovina is leading the world in accounting for missing persons from conflict, with over 70 percent of the 30,000 persons now accounted for, it must create a roadmap for finding the remaining 8,000 persons.

The presentation highlighted the need for more technical experts, for better coordination between the Prosecutor’s Office and the Missing Persons Institute (MPI) and for appropriate funding for the MPI.

ICMP Director-General Kathryne Bomberger said families of the missing are frustrated by the failure of successive administrations to implement the Law on Missing Persons fully. “The Law…

Daily World News Digest, 27 May 2015

EU to announce migrant quota plan details

The BBC reports today that the European Commission is to announce details of its controversial plans to relocate tens of thousands of migrants who have reached southern Europe from Africa and the Middle East. It is being reported that 40,000 asylum seekers would be spread across the EU countries through a quota system. The British government says that it will opt out of the relocation plans. The idea of using quotas to resettle those who have made it to Europe has caused controversy in some EU states. France, Spain, Hungary, Slovakia and Estonia have all voiced concerns. The quota plan is in addition to moves announced earlier this month by the EU for a voluntary scheme to settle 20,000 people fleeing conflict who are currently living outside the EU. More than 1,800 migrants have died in the Mediterranean in 2015 – a 20-fold…

Analysis of Unidentified Remains Begins in Travnik

Following a meeting of the working group on the review of unidentified remains in BiH mortuaries, in Visoko on 22 May in the presence of the Prosecutor’s Offices, MPI Directors and Investigators, Legal Medicine Specialist, and Police investigators, it was agreed that anthropological analysis of unidentified remains – the Travnik cases – under the jurisdiction of the Central Bosnia Canton Prosecutor’s Office will begin in the course of this week.

Relevant authorities in Bosnia and Herzegovina at every level are conducting a thorough review of all 11 mortuaries in the country to establish why almost 3,000 bone samples received from local authorities do not match the genetic profiles of nearly 9,000 complete sets of reference samples provided by more than 27,000 family members with missing relatives.  It is not yet clear why such a large number of bone samples do not match the available genetic profiles.

The review process undertaken by…

Daily World News Digest, 26 May 2015

Serbia told to send Seselj to The Hague

Balkan Insight reports today that two months after its initial decision to revoke war crimes defendant Seselj’s temporary release for cancer treatment, the appeals chamber of the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia has asked the Serbian Justice Ministry to send him back to the UN detention center in the Netherlands. The Justice Ministry said on Tuesday that it received the request on Monday evening, and will now send it to the government, which will then “take a stance in relation to that”. Seselj is on trial for wartime crimes in Bosnia, Croatia and Serbia but returned to Belgrade after being granted temporary release on humanitarian grounds in November. He is being recalled to custody for breaching the terms of his release after he stated several times that he would not return to the court for the verdict in his trial….

Daily World News Digest, 25 May 2015

Malaysian police find 139 suspected migrant graves

The BBC reports today that Malaysian police say 139 suspected migrant grave sites have been found in 28 people-trafficking camps along the Thai border. National police chief Khalid Abu Bakar said some of the graves, found since 11 May, may contain more than one body. They are close to an area of Thailand where trafficking camps and dozens of shallow graves were found this month. Thailand subsequently cracked down on the routes used by traffickers to move migrants through its territory. The operation forced traffickers to move the migrants by sea instead. But thousands were left stranded after the traffickers abandoned them and no country would take them in. The traffickers have been using the jungles of southern Thailand and northern Malaysia for years to smuggle people into Malaysia. Most of the migrants are Rohingya Muslims fleeing persecution in Myanmar, rights groups say,…

Daily World News Digest, 22 May 2015

Mexico investigates new Guerrero disappearances

The BBC reports today that Mexican federal investigators are looking into the disappearance of at least 15 people in the city of Chilapa in Guerrero state, after it was overrun in early May by hundreds of gunmen. Families told police the gunmen claimed they were community police and took away several young men. Chilapa has been caught in battles between two rival drug gangs fighting for territorial control. Local media say the number of disappeared could be much higher. Last year, 43 students disappeared in another town in Guerrero, Iguala. The gunmen overran Chilapa between 9 and 14 May, disarming local police and forcing the police chief to leave. They said they had come to end violence in the city between rival drug gangs Los Rojos and Los Ardillos, and said some police officers were working for Los Rojos. The gunmen later returned the police…

Daily World News Digest, 21 May 2015

Serbian President will not attend Srebrenica anniversary

BalkanInsight reported on 20 May that Serbian President Tomislav Nikolic’s decision not to attend the commemoration of the 20th anniversary of the Srebrenica genocide has been strongly criticized by rights campaigners in Serbia and Bosnia & Herzegovina. Nikolic was accused of genocide denial on Wednesday after a media report said he has decided not to attend the commemoration in July. The report published by Serbia’s Danas news portal on Tuesday gave no further explanation of Nikolic’s decision not to attend. Sonja Biserko from the Helsinki Committee for Human Rights in Serbia said she was not surprised by Nikolic’s decision because, she said, the Serbian president believes the killings were a crime but did not amount to genocide. Biserko also said that the behavior of Serbian politicians, including Nikolic, shows “how deeply Serbia was involved and responsible for what was happening [during the war…

Daily World News Digest, 20 May 2015

Asia boat migrants rescued as nations hold emergency talks

The BBC reports today that hundreds of Rohingya and Bangladeshi migrants have been rescued by fishermen off the coast of Indonesia. Local officials said more than 370 migrants, including at least 50 women and children, had been at sea for weeks and were starving and dehydrated. The latest rescue comes as ministers from Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia held emergency talks in Kuala Lumpur on what is a growing humanitarian crisis. One of the rescued migrants, Ubaydul Haque, told the Associated Press they had been at sea for four months, that their engine was not working and that the captain had fled. “We ran out of food, we wanted to enter Malaysia but we were not allowed.” The stand-off has left thousands of Bangladeshi economic migrants and Rohingya Muslims – fleeing persecution in Myanmar – stranded at sea. An unknown number have…