Monthly Archives: June 2015

Memorialization in Mexico

Danielle House examines creative and effective methods of memorialization in Mexico that address a variety of live issues related to enforced disappearance

On 26 September 2014, students from the Ayotzinapa teacher training college in Guerrero, Southern Mexico, were attacked by municipal police. Three students and three bystanders were killed, 25 were wounded, and a further 43 were forced into police trucks. The 43, however, were not taken to a police station and there was no record of their arrest; they disappeared.

The Procuraduría General de la República (PGR, Mexico’s Office of the Attorney General) has since declared the ‘historic truth’ of the event: the Mayor of the local town, Iguala, ordered the police to attack the students, to prevent them from disrupting an event his wife was hosting that evening. The police handed the students over to local cartel members, who then killed the students and disposed of their bodies.

Global Missing Persons Trends

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.

Southeast Asia

Throughout the month of May, dramatic reports from Southeast Asia highlighted the plight of migrants from Bangladesh and Myanmar attempting to reach Malaysia and Indonesia. Tens of thousands have made the journey south, and large numbers have died en route, through drowning or at the hands of people traffickers often with the collusion of corrupt bureaucrats and police. Thousands of Bangladeshi migrants follow the route south and east in search of work. In 2014, the number of people leaving Myanmar and Bangladesh by boat is estimated to have climbed to around 53,000. Some 920 migrants are known to have perished in the Bay of Bengal between September 2014 and…

A Million Reasons not to Make Peace in Iraq

When troops loyal to the government in Baghdad retook Tikrit in April, they discovered hundreds of bodies buried in mass graves near the River Tigris; hundreds more victims of Islamic State are believed to have been dumped in the river. This episode is just one piece in a blood-soaked mosaic: half a century of dictatorship and conflict have resulted in reports that there are up to one million missing persons in Iraq.

Speakers at conferences organized by the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) in Baghdad and Erbil at the end of April and the beginning of May stressed the need to gather precise statistics as a preliminary step in tackling this issue, but one participant from an Iraqi women’s group summed up the nature and scale of the problem when she described missing persons as “the biggest and the oldest crisis facing our nation”.

ICMP has been addressing the issue…

ICMP at the WILPF 2015 Conference

From 27 to 29 April, ICMP participated at the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF) international conference on “Women’s Power to Stop War”, in The Hague, the Netherlands. The conference was organized to mark the centennial of the establishment of WILPF, when in 1915 more than 1,300 women came together in The Hague in an effort to stop the violence of World War One and establish the principles of permanent peace.

The three-day conference, organized by WILPF and over 40 other civil society organizations, comprised five plenary sessions and more than 47 smaller sessions, including workshops, panels, testimonials, films and regional meetings. A range of subjects were discussed, including the current alarming world trend in militarization, issues related to women and conflict, ideas of masculinities and the need to engage men and boys in gender equality, peace and social justice; fighting impunity in regard to sexual violence in…

Daily World News Digest, 4 June 2016

7,000 died at the Nigerian military’s hands

Amnesty International issued a report on 3 June stating that since 2011 the Nigerian military has arrested at least 20,000 people in northeast Nigeria on suspicion of being Boko Haram members. More than 7,000 suspects died in military detention from torture, starvation, disease or were simply shot Amnesty says. In its report Amnesty International found that these acts amount to war crimes and crimes against humanity. The Nigerian military has also executed more than 1,200 people. One of the most horrific mass extrajudicial executions by the military happened on 14 March 2014 in Maiduguri, Borno state. In the aftermath of a Boko Haram attack on the military detention facility at Giwa barracks during which the detainees were released, the military killed at least 640 men and boys, most of them recaptured detainees, the Amnesty report says. Amnesty released video evidence of the Nigerian…

Daily World News Digest, 3 June 2015

China: end denial about Tiananmen Massacre

Human Rights Watch issued a statement on 2 June calling on the Chinese government to acknowledge and take responsibility for the massacre of pro-democracy demonstrators in June 1989. Authorities should release activists jailed for commemorating the occasion along with all others imprisoned in China for the peaceful exercise of their political views, the statement said. On 3 and 4 June 1989, the Chinese military opened fire and killed an unknown number of peaceful protesters and bystanders in central Beijing. Following the killings, the government implemented a national crackdown and arrested thousands of people for “counter-revolution” and other criminal charges. The government has never accepted responsibility for the massacre or held any perpetrators legally accountable for the killings.

China ship capsize: hopes fade of finding Yangtze survivors

The BBC reports today that hopes are fading of any more survivors being found inside a cruise ship…

Daily World News Digest, 2 June 2015

Over 6,400 killed in Ukraine, severe rights violations

The tenth report by the UN Human Rights Monitoring Mission in Ukraine said that while there are allegations against armed groups of torture, kidnapping and executions, on the government side there are allegations of arbitrary detention, enforced disappearances, and executions, the Press Trust of India reports today. Over 6,400 people have been killed so far in Ukraine and despite a reduction in fighting there are alarming reports of severe violations of human rights, which, if confirmed would constitute war crimes, the UN today said.

Kenya: Kenya official warns police about human rights violations

On 1 June the Allafrica news portal reported that Ahmed Abdullahi, the Governor of Wajir County in the northeast of Kenya, has instructed security agents to respect the rule of law amid the war against terrorism. He warned against police brutality after images of an alleged incident in Garissa,…

Daily World News Digest, 1 June 2015

Srebrenica Genocide ‘Part of Bosnian Identity’

BalkanInsight reported on 29 May on a conference on the 1995 Srebrenica Massacre, entitled “School of Knowledge: Srebrenica – Mapping Genocide and Post-Genocide Society”, which was held in Sarajevo on 28 May.  Suada Kapic, one of the founders of the FAMA Methodology association, which organized the conference, said that facing up to Srebrenica and past atrocities in the former Yugoslavia was a precondition for a better everyday life. “Through this event and through generating documents about the wars in the Yugoslav region, we want to show that the methodology of gathering facts is the only counter-poison to political manipulation of history, which is a dominant theme in the region,” she said. The School of Knowledge, she explained, seeks to transform education about genocide and war in order to develop a universal educational model, which would be used to share knowledge. This methodology, which detects…