Monthly Archives: September 2015

Daily World News Digest, 8 September 2015

Iraq confirms commitment to combat enforced disappearances 

The Kuwait News Agency reported on 7 September that at a meeting in Geneva on Monday representatives of Iraq assured the UN Committee on Enforced Disappearances of the country’s commitment to protect human rights through continued cooperation with the UN. Iraq said it has set up bodies in all national institutions in charge of monitoring cases of enforced disappearances as well as human rights issues. In discussions with the Committee, Iraqi delegates pointed out that enforced disappearances also included frequent abductions of Iraqi citizens after 2003. The Iraqi delegation was expected to discuss with the Committee on Tuesday atrocities purportedly committed by Islamic State. Cases of enforced disappearances that have allegedly been abetted by government officials will also be discussed. The Iraqi delegation is also expected to respond to accusations leveled by various human rights organizations concerning unsolved cases of enforced disappearances.

Daily World News Digest, 7 September 2015

Authorities struggle to identify dead in refugee tragedies

US News carried a story on 6 September saying that at least 364,000 people have crossed the Mediterranean to Europe this year. More than 2,800 have died, or are lost and presumed dead, according to the International Organization for Migration. Only about a third of the bodies recovered are ever identified, said Frank Laczko, head of the IOM’s Global Migration Data Analysis Center in Berlin. Laczko said IOM wants a Europe-wide database for families to provide information about missing relatives and for authorities to distribute details about bodies they have found. He also wants far more attention paid to mining data from cell phones found on victims.

New report on enforced disappearances in Sri Lanka

The Sunday Leader, a weekly from Sri Lanka, reported on 6 September that a new report on enforced disappearances in Sri Lanka compiled by the Centre for…

Daily World News Digest, 4 September 2015


UK to accept “thousands” more Syrian refugees

The BBC reported today that the UK will provide resettlement to “thousands” more Syrian refugees in response to the worsening humanitarian crisis, according to an announcement by Prime Minister David Cameron. He said the extra refugees would come from UN camps bordering Syria, and not from among people already in Europe. Britain would act with its “head and heart”, he said, as he pledged to find long-term solutions to the crisis. The prime minister has previously said accepting more people was not the simple answer to the situation. Calls for the UK to take in more refugees have intensified after the publication of a picture of the body of a drowned three-year-old Syrian boy, Alan Kurdi, washed up a Turkish beach. Speaking to the BBC, the boy’s aunt, Tima Kurdi, said his and his brother’s death should be “a wake-up call for the…

Daily World News Digest, 3 September 2015

Investigators find 31,000 human bone fragments at ranch in northern Mexico

Fox News Latino reported on 2 September that at least 31,000 fragments of human bones have been found at a ranch in Nuevo Leon, a state in northern Mexico, supposedly used by drug traffickers to burn the remains of victims, according to state officials. The remains belong to at least 31 people reported missing in the state. A spokesperson for the Attorney General’s Office said that thanks to statements given by criminals who are under arrest, information about the victims and investigations by the AG’s office, the ranch was found in the city of Salinas Victoria in the state of Nuevo Leon. The city is under the control of the Los Zetas drug cartel, considered one of Mexico’s most violent criminal organizations. The AG’s office has been digging at the ranch since 2011 and continues to find human remains,…

World News Digest August

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.

Significant political change in Sri Lanka has created new possibilities for addressing the issue of missing persons, while in Bangladesh, political turbulence has led to allegations of systematic enforced disappearances. In India, the authorities have acknowledged the scale of the missing persons issue and are developing new administrative and technology strategies to deal with it.

Sri Lanka

On 5 August The Rappler, a social news network based in the Philippines, reported  that the previous day Sri Lanka had pledged to act on a UN war crimes report to be published next month, marking a de facto acceptance of an investigation rejected by the previous regime. Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe said Colombo would address the…

Disappearances in Canada – Criminal Acts or a Deeper Societal Issue?

The issue of disappearances and murders of First Nation women in Canada has been gaining an increasing amount of media attention. The exact number of missing and murdered aboriginal women is not known. Some media investigations have suggested that over the past 30 years more than 1,200 women have gone missing in Canada. The RCMP states that the violence is often perpetrated by members…

Enforced Disappearances in Pakistan

The News on Sunday, a weekly magazine in Pakistan, reported on 2 August that the country’s Human Rights Commission had condemned the killing of a man in the southern province of Sindh who had been arrested by uniformed security forces. The headline of the piece was “Sindh: A new Balochistan?” and the article cited the incident as possible evidence of a wave of enforced disappearances throughout the country. Balochistan is Pakistan’s largest province, though it has a population of just under 10 million. Since 2003, a nationalist movement has sustained a drive for independence, reviving historical claims that enjoy considerable support. The central government has responded in a manner that has generally been described as heavy-handed. Sindh, which borders Balochistan, is Pakistan’s most populous province; its largest city, Karachi, is the commercial capital of the country. The prospect of Sindh following Balochistan in terms of enforced disappearances and extra-judicial…

Daily World News Digest, 2 September 2015

Migrant crisis: Thousands arrive in mainland Greece

The BBC reports today that thousands of migrants are arriving in mainland Greece as the government prepares for talks on tackling the huge number of people reaching its shores. Two ships carrying more than 4,200 people travelled to Piraeus port at night after leaving Lesbos island. Meanwhile, some 2,000 people, mostly from the Middle East, remain stranded outside a railway station in Hungary after police stopped them travelling through the EU. The EU’s border control agency, Frontex, says 23,000 migrants arrived in Greece last week alone – an increase of 50 percent on the previous week. More than 160,000 people have arrived in Greece so far this year.

Call for creation of missing persons’ register in Nigeria

Leadership, a daily from Nigeria, reports today that the Bring Back Our Girls (BBOG) group will visit the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) today to advocate…

21st Sarajevo Film Festival Addresses the Issue of Missing Persons

Source: SFF

The 2015 Sarajevo Film Festival (SFF) gave special attention to the issue of missing persons, with several documentary and feature films covering the subject. Four documentaries focused on Srebrenica: “The Sigh of Life, Srebrenica”, “Adil”, “The Mist of Srebrenica” and “The Voices of Srebrenica”. All four films tell stories of survivors of genocide and pose questions about life, war and forgiveness, as well as considering human hardship and the burden of loss.

A documentary film “Remember me”, produced by the Izvor Association from Prijedor, was also shown during the 21st SFF. This film tells the story of two girls who were small children at the time of their fathers’ internment and disappearance.

“15-minute Massacre in Dvor” was shown as part of the “1995 – 2015 Dealing with the Past” program at the festival. The film tells the story of the massacre of nine people with disabilities in Dvor, Croatia, at the…

Colombia’s Missing – a Systematic Approach to Resolving a Complex Issue

One of the tragic consequences of Colombia’s internal armed conflict has been the enforced disappearance of many thousands of people. The causes of these disappearances are more diverse than in other transitional societies. In Colombia, enforced disappearances have been perpetrated by a variety of groups, including paramilitary and guerrilla forces and state actors. Furthermore, as the conflict has not yet been brought conclusively to a close, disappearances continue to occur.

The disappeared in Colombia are located in numerous individual and multiple clandestine graves, as NNs (No Name) in ossuaries or cemeteries, or as partial remains recovered from rivers and other bodies of water. A recently found excavation site, La Escombrera (the dump), in Medellin has brought further attention to the issue. It is believed the site contains the remains of 300 victims. Excavation of the remains, which began in late July 2015, is reckoned to be the largest such undertaking…