Monthly Archives: December 2015

Daily World News Digest, 16 December 2015

Accord on victims seeks to heal wounds of Colombia’s endless war

The Latin American Herald Tribune reported today that the Colombian government and FARC guerrillas have signed an agreement on reparations for more than 6 million victims of the five-decade long conflict. There will be “the most extensive possible” amnesty for political wrongs, but crimes against humanity, whether committed by guerrillas or government agents, will not go unpunished. The conflict in Colombia has left 5.7 million displaced persons, 220,000 slain, 25,000 missing and 27,000 kidnapped, according to figures of the Historical Memory Center in Bogota. http://bit.ly/1P6urO1

Asia’s human rights activists condemn brutal past and present, call for brighter future

Jakarta Globe carried a story on 15 December on a two-day “Torture and Violence in Asia” workshop in Indonesia, hosted by activist organizations to highlight human rights violations across Asia. Recipients of the Gwangju Human Rights award were joined by human rights…

Daily World News Digest, 15 December 2015

Cyprus signs ICMP Treaty

Cyprus News Agency reported on 14 December that the Republic of Cyprus today became the eighth country to sign the Agreement on the Status and Functions of the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP). A total of 493 Turkish Cypriots and 1,508 Greek Cypriots have been reported as missing by both communities as a result of events in the 1960s and in 1974. ICMP has worked with the Committee on Missing Persons in Cyprus (CMP) since July 2012, when it began providing assistance in making DNA-based identifications.  Following the signing of the Agreement, ICMP hopes to explore options to enhance it support. ICMP Director-General Kathryne Bomberger said this morning’s accession to the Agreement would make it easier for ICMP to work with stakeholders in Cyprus. http://bit.ly/1lL2zFQ

Bosnia and Herzegovina: 20 years of denial and injustice

Amnesty International USA issued a statement on 14 December saying that twenty…

Chile Signs ICMP Treaty

Ambassador María Teresa Infante of the Republic of Chile, Ambassador Elpidoforos Economou of the Republic of Cyprus, and ICMP Director-General Kathryne Bomberger at the signing of the Agreement on the Status and Functions of the International Commission on Missing Persons, The Hague, 14 December 2005.

Chile today became the seventh country to sign the Agreement on the Status and Functions of the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP).

In December 2014 the Agreement was signed by the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Sweden, Belgium and Luxembourg; last month it was signed by El Salvador, and this morning in addition to Chile it was signed by the Republic of Cyprus. The Agreement recognizes ICMP as an international organization tasked with assisting countries in their efforts to address missing persons cases from conflict, human rights abuses, disasters, organized crime, migration and other causes. The Agreement does not…

More remains can be found; More identifications can be made

The review of BiH mortuaries being carried out under the jurisdiction of the relevant Prosecutors’ Offices with the full cooperation of the police, pathologists and the authorities, the Missing Persons Institute and ICMP demonstrates the determined efforts to investigate missing persons cases , 20 years after the conflict, ICMP Director-General Kathryne Bomberger wrote in a column that appeared on Sunday (13 December) in the daily newspaper Dnevni Avaz.

“It also highlights the very important fact that more than two decades after the war, with more than 70 percent of the missing accounted for, the effort to account for those who are still missing remains absolutely essential,” Ms Bomberger added.

For the last two years, the NN (no name) Working Group has been systematically reviewing cases of unidentified remains in BiH mortuaries, moving from one mortuary to the next. It has so far reviewed cases in Sutina, Nevesinje, Gorazde, Tavnik, Visoko and…

The Republic of Cyprus Signs ICMP Treaty

Ambassador María Teresa Infante of the Republic of Chile, Ambassador Elpidoforos Economou of the Republic of Cyprus, and ICMP Director-General Kathryne Bomberger at the signing of the Agreement on the Status and Functions of the International Commission on Missing Persons, The Hague, 14 December 2005.

The Republic of Cyprus today became the eighth country to sign the Agreement on the Status and Functions of the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP).

In December 2014 the Agreement was signed by the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Sweden, Belgium and Luxembourg; last month it was signed by El Salvador, and this morning it was signed by Chile and then Cyprus.

The Agreement recognizes ICMP as an international organization tasked with assisting countries in their efforts to address missing persons cases from conflict, human rights abuses, disasters, organized crime, migration and other causes. It does not create new international…

Daily World News Digest, 14 December 2015

Probe into missing Laos activist a ‘’farce’’: rights groups

The Straits Times, a daily from Singapore, reported today that an investigation into the disappearance of Laotian activist Sombath Somphone three years ago is “a farce” and has had a chilling effect on civil society, rights groups said Monday. Sombath, an award-winning campaigner for sustainable development, vanished from the streets of Vientiane after he was pulled over at a police checkpoint on the evening of 15 December, 2012. His case raised the issue of impunity for powerful state and business interests held responsible for routinely killing or “disappearing” activists across the region.  While data is scarce, rights campaigners say likely hundreds of people have vanished across Southeast Asia in the past two decades, often after coming up against local business, criminal or political interests. http://bit.ly/1J6qdBb

Lanka missing probe panel asks 1,500 people to depose

The Gulf Times, a daily from Qatar, reported…

Yazidi Women in Mass Graves

In mid-November 2015, two mass graves were discovered in the northwest of Iraq. They were believed to hold the remains of Yazidis executed by Islamic State. One grave contained 70 elderly women while 60 younger women and children were found in the other. The larger grave is one of the largest ever found in the area.

The Yazidis or Yezidis are a Kurdish-speaking people who live principally in northern Iraq. They number from 500,000 to 600,000, with another 200,000 settled in other parts of the world. Their 4,000-year-old faith draws upon Zoroastrianism, Islam and other religions: this unique heritage, however, has long made the Yazidis victims of persecution in the region, where they are…

DNA and the Issue of Trafficked Children

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By Bojana Djokanovic

ICMP was invited to participate and share expertise at a film screening and discussion organized in Washington on 8 December by the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). The event focused on the use of DNA in identifying migration-related enforced disappearances. The film shown was a documentary on the trafficking of migrant children from South America, “The Living Disappeared” directed by Alexa Barrett.  ICMP Forensic Sciences Director Thomas Parsons was a member of the discussion panel after the film screening.

“The Living Disappeared” gives a first-hand account of trafficking, from people who migrated as children, who were victims of kidnappers or smugglers, and who made the journey across the desert. It depicts the human side of the complex problem of identifying the dead and preventing human trafficking.

The film also describes the push factors within countries of origin that cause…

Creating Space for Hope

 

 ICMP Director-General Kathryne Bomberger, El Salvador Ambassador to the Netherlands Aida Luz Santos de Escobar, and Head of the Treaties Division of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands  J. Damoiseaux at the Signing of the Agreement on the Status and Functions of the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP)

By Kathryne Bomberger

On 18 November El Salvador became the sixth country to sign the Agreement on the Status and Functions of the International Commission on Missing Persons. ICMP is the only international organization exclusively dedicated to helping governments and others account for those who go missing as a result of conflict, crime, migration, human rights violations and natural disasters.

The ICMP Agreement gives signatories a role in ICMP’s development and strategy. In December 2014, it was signed by the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Sweden, Belgium and Luxembourg.

El Salvador’s accession will…

Microsoft Supports ICMP

Microsoft

Microsoft and ICMP announced in November that Microsoft has donated US$474,791 in software to ICMP. This will allow ICMP to maintain and enhance its Identification Database Management System (iDMS) software and add efficiency to its global communications.

This is the fifth major donation by Microsoft to ICMP. It donated software in 2008, 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2015 under its global “Unlimited Potential” initiative, which provides software support to non-profit organizations.

“ICMP operates a state-of-the-art iDMS and runs programs in many different parts of the world,” said ICMP Director-General Kathryne Bomberger. “Microsoft’s assistance has been and continues to be of paramount importance to us as we develop our human identification database and expand our communications network to manage projects separated by large distances.”

The iDMS is a specialized software solution developed by ICMP for managing large scale missing persons programs. It has a set of powerful…