On 24 November, Her Majesty Queen Noor spoke at the Blavatnik School of Government in Oxford, describing the creation and evolution of ICMP and the development of a new international consensus on how to deal with the global challenge of missing persons.
Queen Noor, who has been an ICMP Commissioner since 2001, noted that there ae now effective tools to address the global missing persons crisis created by natural disasters, conflict and migration. The processes and capacities developed by ICMP over the years are being applied throughout the world, from Iraq to Chile to Canada.
For a long time, accounting for people missing during conflict was treated under the Geneva Conventions, which require warring parties to record the identity of the dead and wounded and to share this information with enemy forces, but the nature of war has changed in the last 150 years,…
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.
Mediterranean Migration Crisis
Casualties arising from the Mediterranean Migration Crisis continued during November, as governments resorted to contentious measures to deal with the problem, including border fences and other restrctions on travel. In many cases, these appeared to add danger to migrant journeys without having the deired afect of regulating refugee flows.
The Independent reported that eleven women and children had drowned in the Aegean Sea after a boat carrying refugees from Turkey to Greece sank on the morning of 1 November. It said nearly 600,000…
Sri Lanka to sign UN Convention on Disappearances
Business Standard, a news portal from India, reported on 10 December that Sri Lanka will sign a key UN convention on disappearances of people affected by the three-decade-old ethnic conflict, days after a UN group visited the country on a fact finding mission. Foreign minister Mangala Samaraweera said Sri Lanka’s Permanent Representative to the UN in New York will sign the Convention. Samaraweera said that cabinet has approved the proposal to sign the key Convention to commemorate Human Rights Day. The signing takes place just weeks after the UN working group on enforced disappearances visited the country on a fact finding mission. Samaraweera said it was important for Sri Lanka to sign the convention as it had been criticized for disappearances of individuals over a long period of time. http://bit.ly/1NfAz5I
Mothers of missing migrants from Central America in search for their loved…
Srebrenica mass grave uncovered 20 years after massacre
AFP reported on 9 December that Bosnian forensic experts have started exhuming the human remains from a recently uncovered mass grave believed to contain victims of the 1995 Srebrenica massacre, the war crime prosecutor’s office said Wednesday. “So far remains of at least 15 victims have been recovered,” the prosecutor said in a statement. The mass grave was uncovered at Kozluk, a village some 70 kilometers (40 miles) north of Srebrenica. Remains of some 6,600 of the Srebrenica victims have been found, identified and buried, but exhumations have become rare events in recent years as the authorities claim to have no information on where the rest of the victims are buried. The last large-scale exhumation around Srebrenica took place in 2010, when the remains of some 50 victims were found. http://yhoo.it/1IGBNbn
Revealed: Thailand’s most senior human trafficking investigator to seek political asylum…
Canada: New government launches first phase of missing, murdered women inquiry
CTV News, a portal from Canada, reported on 8 December that new liberal government of Canada is launching the first phase of a national inquiry into missing and murdered aboriginal women, the justice minister said Tuesday. Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould said the first phase will include consultations with affected families in the national capital region to hear their input on the design and goals of the inquiry. Earlier in the day, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said the inquiry is a “top priority” of the Liberal government. Calls for a national inquiry have been growing since a 2014 RCMP review found that 1,181 indigenous women had been murdered or gone missing since 1980 — 164 missing and 1,017 homicide victims. http://bit.ly/1m9SyBR
At least 11 migrants dead in sinking off Greece
Belfast Telegraph reported today that at least 11 people have died and…
Bodies discovered in northeast Kenya
The BBC reported on 7 December that at least 20 bodies have been discovered in northeast Kenya buried in shallow graves. They were found by a herder looking for his animals, who noticed signs of wild jackals in the area near the Somali border. Kenya’s security forces deny charges they have been killing ethnic Somalis. The residents of ethnic Somali-dominated districts in the region have repeatedly accused Kenya’s security agencies of being behind the arrest and disappearance of youths suspected of having links with the Somali militant Islamist group al-Shabab. A local politician suggested the dead were victims of enforced disappearances. http://bbc.in/1TxHl8y
Activists call for release of Lao student leaders
The International Federation of Human Rights Organizations (FIDH) issued a statement today calling on the Lao government immediately and unconditionally to release two former pro-democracy student leaders who have been arbitrarily detained for more than 16…
Sri Lanka reconciliation process
The Sunday Leader from Sri Lanka reported on 7 December that a policy on reconciliation being drawn up under the chairmanship of former President Chandrika Kumaratunga will soon be completed. Kumaratunga, who is chair of the Office for National Unity and Reconciliation, said she hopes the policy will be accepted by the Government and made the National Policy on Reconciliation. Proposals include setting up a grievance unit; issuing ‘Certificates of Absence’ for families; establishing a domestic mechanism to address post-war issues of truth and accountability; and holding senior military officers accountable in the domestic process when investigating incidents related to the war. Kumaratunga said that the accountability process will begin either this month or next month with the establishment of a Special Court. She said the government will accept foreign technical assistance in the domestic process but not foreign judges. http://bit.ly/1Odb2b4
Bangladesh: “A terrifying disappearing act“
5 December 2015: A conference organized in Tirana on Friday by the Albanian Ministry of Social Welfare and Youth explored ways of implementing a strategy to account for the estimated 6,000 people who disappeared in the country during the period of authoritarian rule from 1944 to 1991.
“After adoption of the Law on opening the files from the Communist era, starting the program to find missing persons is one of the most important political decisions of the Albanian state,” said Minister of Social Welfare and Youth Blendi Klosi. “Opening the files and starting the program to find missing from the dictatorship era are parts of the same process.”
In March 2015, ICMP received an invitation from the Ministry of Social Welfare and Youth to discuss potential paths of cooperation between ICMP and the Albanian authorities to address the issue of persons missing during the period of the Communist regime. An ICMP…
UN orders Nepal to prosecute those responsible for disappearances
Advocacy Forum, a Nepalese human rights organization, anounced on 2 December that the UN Human Rights Committee has found Nepalese authorities responsible for the disappearance of eight youths and called for criminal prosecution of the perpetrators. The youths, aged between 14 and 23 at the time of their disappearance, were taken by soldiers from their homes at around midnight on 11 April 2002. Their families have not seen them since. The ruling follows a case brought to the Committee by family members of the missing in 2011. The Committee said it is insufficient for the case to be looked at by either Nepal’s soon-to-be-formed Truth and Reconciliation Commission or the Enforced Disappearances Commission. Instead, Nepal must begin a full investigation into the disappearances with a view to prosecuting those responsible, it said. http://bit.ly/1IHPCBa
The Syrian civil war has wrought a terrible…
Boko Haram resurgence in Nigeria
Council on Foreign Relations issued a news on 2 December saying that President Muhammadu Buhari has repeatedly said that the Nigerian security services would destroy Boko Haram by December. The reality is that Boko Haram of late has been resurgent. Boko Haram destroyed a Nigerian military base at the end of November and occupied the town of Gulak, in Adamawa state. Separately, a military intelligence officer confirmed that 107 soldiers remain missing. Unspecified number of girls were kidnapped from Bam village, in Yobe state. Meanwhile, the UN Resident Coordinator in Cameroon, Najat Rochdi, is sounding the alarm that Boko Haram is expanding. Recent round of Boko Haram kidnapping of girls is a reminder that more than a year after more than two hundred girls were kidnapped from Chibok, not one has been found, though a handful escaped at the time. http://on.cfr.org/1QVMXeX
Tests started on bodies…