Monthly Archives: August 2015

Daily World News Digest, 31 August 2015

New Suspected Burial Site in Northern Sri Lanka

The Tamil Guardian, a UK news portal covering Sri Lanka affairs, carried a story on 29 August saying that investigations began on Friday into a covered up well in Mannar District in Northern Sri Lanka, unearthed adjacent to where a mass grave containing more than 80 bodies was found last year. The well, which is believed to contain human remains, was inspected by a judge and other local officials on Friday. On Wednesday, Justice Alexrajah had marked the site and ordered that the woods surrounding it should be cleared and cordoned off ahead of Friday’s inspection. Visiting the site on Friday, Justice Alexrajah asked the land surveyors to produce maps and ordered that the site should have a round-the-clock police guard to prevent any unauthorized access. Excavations at an adjacent site last year, found over 80 human remains. The Bishop of Mannar,…

The Issue of Missing Persons Demands a Global Solution

Well over 2,000 migrants have drowned in the Mediterranean in 2015 and untold numbers have perished crossing the Sahara en route to ports in Libya and elsewhere. The statistics on missing migrants constitute a horrific backdrop to activities organized to mark the International Day of the Disappeared.

And the numbers of those who go missing on dangerous migration routes – across the Mexican-US border, for example, or south from the Bay of Bengal – are dwarfed by the numbers of those who are disappearing in parts of Central Africa, in Syria, Iraq, Yemen and other conflict zones, not to mention the thousands who are victims of enforced disappearance and extrajudicial killings as a result of repressive government or paramilitary policies.

“The International Day of the Disappeared is an appropriate occasion on which to recall that the issue of missing persons represents a global challenge that requires a global solution,” ICMP Director-General…

Authorities Must Help to Account for Those Who Are Still Missing

Activists in towns and cities across Bosnia and Herzegovina organized street events today to highlight the issue of missing persons. In addition to Sarajevo, Prijedor, Ilijas, Vogosca, Travnik, Srebrenica, Bijeljina, Ozren, Mostar and Brcko, related events were organized in Belgrade, Zagreb, Pakrac, and Pristina.

ICMP in cooperation with the Network for Building Peace and the Association for Social Research and Communication presented a “living sculpture” in the center of Sarajevo. This comprised installations designed by family members of the missing to represent their loves ones. The event highlighted key messages related to the missing persons issue:

• Demand truth and justice
• This concerns you too
• Report mass grave sites

– More than 30,000 people were missing in Bosnia and Herzegovina at the end of the war
– 70 percent of the missing have been accounted for
– We are still looking for more than 8,000 of our fellow citizens

Members of the public were invited to sign a petition calling on…

Daily World News Digest, 28 August 2015

Migrant crisis: Grim find in Austria

The BBC reported on 28 August that bodies of more than 70 migrants have been found in a lorry abandoned in a motorway lay-by near the Austrian border with Hungary, according to the authorities. Austrian police say they think the people inside were already dead when the truck crossed into Austria. The lorry has been towed away for forensic examination. The grim find comes as a summit focusing on migration takes place in the Austrian capital, Vienna. Austria’s Chancellor Werner Faymann said the tragedy showed once again “how necessary it is to save lives by combating criminals and people traffickers”. The vehicle – a refrigerated lorry with Hungarian license plates was carrying bodies in a decomposing state.

Day of the Disappeared: Enforced disappearances unabated around the world

Amnesty International issued a statement on 27 August saying that the use of enforced disappearance by governments…

Daily World News Digest, 27 August 2015

UN Special Rapporteur urges EU to create new migration policy

The Jurist, a US legal news portal, reported on 25 August that UN Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights of Migrants François Crépeau on Tuesday urged the European Union to create a new human-rights-minded migration policy to empower migrants and solve the issue of human smuggling in the Eurozone. Crépeau said he believes that the EU has not been handling the current migration issues properly and that more needs to be done as movement of individuals across Eurozone borders will inevitably continue. He also criticized many of the methods currently used by the EU. Crépeau said that in order for the EU to control its borders more efficiently, it must accept the migration issue and work to help those who are seeking asylum. ttp://

Around 40 dead in new Mediterranean tragedy, 2,000 others in danger

Al Arabiya news portal reported on…

Daily World News Digest, 26 August 2015

Migrant deaths in the Mediterranean reach 2,373 in 2015

The International Organization for Migration reports today that deaths of all migrants and refugees attempting to reach Europe by sea in 2015 now total 2,373. The death toll recorded on the same date in 2014 was 2,081. Over the last 365 days, IOM has recorded 3,573 migrants who died attempting to reach Italy, Greece and Spain by sea – an average of nearly ten deaths per day. Four more people were reported lost at sea in the area – three of them believed to be Iraqi men in their late teens, and the fourth a Turkish national, who may have been working as a smuggler. IOM is concerned that as summer turns to autumn and then winter, additional deaths at sea could well surpass 2,000 through the final third of this year.

Indian Supreme Court calls for action plan on…

Daily World News Digest, 25 August 2015

Sri Lanka arrests army personnel over missing Journalist

Sri Lanka Brief, a news portal from Sri Lanka, reported today that Sri Lanka’s police arrested four army personnel, including two senior officers on Monday, in connection with the disappearance of a dissident cartoonist that triggered international condemnation of the island’s rights record. Two lieutenant colonels, a sergeant and a corporal were arrested following the testimony given by three other suspects already in custody over the abduction of Prageeth Eknaligoda in 2010, police spokesman Ruwan Gunasekera said. Eknaligoda, who contributed to the pro-opposition website, did not return home after work in January 2010, two days before the island’s presidential election which was won by Mahinda Rajapakse. The cartoonist was never seen again and his case was raised at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva as well as several others where former strongman Rajapakse’s rights record was severely criticized. Leaked police…

Daily World News Digest, 24 August 2015

UN chief arrives in Nigeria to mark bombing, abducted girls

The Daily Mail reported on 23 August that UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon arrived in Nigeria on Sunday to commemorate the Boko Haram bombing of his organization’s headquarters and focus new attention on 219 schoolgirls held by the extremists. Ban will meet with Nigeria’s new president, Muhammadu Buhari, on Monday, amid plans to launch a long-delayed regional offensive against the West African country’s Islamic insurgents. A UN statement said the leaders will discuss ways to counter violent extremism as well as human rights and climate change. Ban is also scheduled to meet the Bring Back Our Girls group, which is demanding government action to free the 219 abducted schoolgirls, who have been held now for nearly 500 days, according to the group.

Migrants crisis: More than 4,000 people rescued near Libya coast

The BBC reported on 23 August 23 that about…

Dutch Government Renews Support to ICMP to Help BiH Find Missing from Srebrenica 1995

21 August 2015: The Kingdom of the Netherlands donated 1.5 million euros to continue to support the efforts of the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) to help Bosnian authorities account for missing persons from Srebrenica.  The donation will make it possible for ICMP to continue assistance in locating and identifying those last seen in July 1995 in and around Srebrenica.

ICMP was created in 1996 at a G-7 summit originally to seek the cooperation of governments in the region of the former Yugoslavia account for missing persons from the conflicts of the 1990’s.  Approximately 140,000 persons were killed during the conflicts, of which 40,000 persons were missing.  Of that number 30,000 were missing from the conflict relevant to Bosnia and Herzegovina, including approximately 8,000 persons missing from the 1995 Fall of Srebrenica, which is the only recognized genocide on European soil since WWII.

In cooperation with the governments in the…

Daily World News Digest, 20 August 2015

Stymied at English Channel, migrants with money turn to smugglers

Wall Street Journal reported on 19th August that a site which has been set up on the shores of the English Channel ,for migrants who are passing through, is no longer under the control of authorities.  The site, which offers running water, heat and electricity, has recently fallen into the hands of smugglers who use luxury vehicles to sneak migrants past border patrols in the nearby port city of Calais. As French authorities crack down in Calais—long a way station for people trying to sneak through the Channel Tunnel or onto ferries to the U.K.—thousands of more well-heeled migrants are turning to smuggling rings that promise a safer passage.

Mexico missing

Latin American Herald Tribune: In late July, Amnesty International said “Mexico’s federal Attorney General’s office has admitted that 60 mass graves with the remains of at least 129 people…