Boko Haram crisis: “About 500” Nigerian children missing
The BBC reported on 24 March that about 500 children aged 11 and under are missing from a Nigerian town recaptured from militants, according to a former resident of Damasak. A trader in the north-eastern town told Reuters news agency that Boko Haram fighters took the children with them when they fled. Troops from Niger and Chad seized Damasak earlier in March, ending months of control by the Islamist militants. A regional force has recently been helping Nigeria take on the insurgents. Boko Haram caused international outrage in April 2014 after it abducted more than 200 girls from a boarding school in Chibok town in north-eastern Nigeria’s Borno state. The group’s leader Abubakar Shekau has said the girls have been married off. http://bbc.in/19j8Scq
Eight missing persons declared hardcore militants
The News portal from Pakistan reports today that eight persons who had been reported…
8,000 persons still missing after the 1992 – 1995 war in Bosnia
Bosnia Today carried a summary on 21 March of an interview with the Director-General of the International Commission on Missing Persons that appeared the same day in the daily newspaper Oslobodjenje. It noted that around 23,000 persons have been found and identified, but about 8,000 persons are still missing from the conflict of the early 90s. Bomberger said the key challenge now is to maintain public and political focus on finding missing persons. She pointed out that this task is more difficult because the number of people being found is falling every year. Therefore, it is necessary to take into account additional sources of information, such as aerial photography to locate clandestine graves. http://bit.ly/1BozJun
20 “missing” in Bangladesh this year
The Daily Star news portal from Bangladesh reported on 23 March that rights group Ain O Salish Kendra (ASK)…
Release of child soldiers in South Sudan
UNICEF reported on 21 March that up to 250 child soldiers including four girls, one as young as nine, have been released in South Sudan from an armed group, the Cobra Faction. Another 400 are being released over the next two days. The release happened in the remote village of Lekuangole, in Jonglei State. It is the third release of children following a peace deal between the faction and the Government. The Government’s National Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration Commission (NDDRC) and UNICEF are working together to care for the children and reintegrate them in their communities. The Cobra Faction have advised UNICEF that they have up to 3,000 child soldiers in their armed group. UNICEF Representative in South Sudan, Jonathan Veitch said this release takes the number of child soldiers demobilized to 1,314. “While we welcome freedom for the children, we are also…
9/11 victim identified through DNA 13 years on
ITV News reports today that a man who died in the 9/11 attacks in New York has been formally identified more than 13 years after the event. New York City’s Chief Medical Examiner’s Office (OCME) announced today that they have identified through DNA 26-year-old Matthew David Yarnell from New Jersey. Yarnell, an assistant vice president for technology at Fiduciary Trust International, was in the South Tower, the second building to be struck by a plane on 11 September 2001. His remains were among those recovered in the original search for remains in 2001 and 2002, but were not identified until additional DNA testing. The identification brings the total number of positively identified victims in the attack to 1,640 out of 2,753 people reported missing. Almost 40 percent of the victims remain unidentified. http://bit.ly/1BEzhrM
Missing persons issue “a scar on Pakistan democracy”
Participants at a Roundtable organized by ICMP in Sarajevo today highlighted the underlying fact that accounting for the missing in Bosnia and Herzegovina is the responsibility of the authorities.
The BiH Law on Missing Persons, and the Declaration signed by Western Balkans leaders in Mostar last summer assert the fundamental obligation of the state to address the issue of missing persons, and to ensure that the rights of family members are upheld and that survivors and civil society have access to information and a proper investigation.
Officials at every level of government are obliged to cooperate – fully and effectively – in accounting for the missing, whatever their ethnicity, whatever the circumstances of their disappearance.
A key way of doing this is to consolidate, review and verify records of the missing. The BiH authorities created the Central Evidentiary List of the Missing (CEN) in 2011. However, only around half of the more…
#Every90Seconds: Significant facts about missing kids
The WUSA9 News portal reports today that in the United States a child goes missing approximately once every 90 seconds, adding that, according to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, nearly 800,000 children are reported missing in a year; approximately 10% of those children are classified as non-family abductions; the most prevalent type of reported missing children in the US are runaway or abandoned children; and one in six endangered runaways reported to the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children in 2014 were likely sex trafficking victims. http://on.wusa9.com/1FHwfsS
Thailand urged to investigate alleged torture in military custody
Human Rights Watch issued a statement on 18 March calling on the authorities in Thailand to investigate the alleged torture of suspects held incommunicado in military custody. Four suspects in a grenade attack on the Bangkok criminal court alleged that they were tortured while being held…
Serbia arrests seven over 1995 Srebrenica massacre
The BBC reports today that Serbian police have arrested seven men accused of taking part in the murder of more than 1,000 Muslims at a warehouse on the outskirts of Srebrenica. The seven are among the first to be arrested by Serbia for carrying out the Srebrenica massacre in July 1995, Serbian and Bosnian prosecutors say. Serbia has previously detained individuals not directly involved in the killings. In 2011 it handed Ratko Mladic over to the Hague Tribunal. http://bbc.in/1ADWICm
Enforced disappearances reported in Cairo
The website of Alkarama, an activist organization, reported on 17 March that on Thursday 12 March the organization sent an urgent appeal to the UN Working Group on Enforced Disappearances (WGEID) regarding the disappearances of Ibrahim Ahmed Shaker, aged 20, Serag Eldin Ali Awad Abdel Mawla, 17, Metwally Abou Al Majd Suleiman Mohamed, 45 and his son Hisham Metwally Abou…
The Human Identification Solutions Conference organized by Life Technologies in Madrid at the beginning of March highlighted the new capabilities made possible by Next Generation DNA Sequencing (also known as Massively Parallel Sequencing). With Next Gen techniques, the cost of sequencing DNA in medical and academic work has been slashed and progress is being made toward routine accessibility and widespread use within three to five years.
Conference presentations covered the development of new genetic “marker” systems for human identification, and their incorporation in robust, commercially available tests. Using modifications to standard DNA profiling methods, new systems for quantification and typing of DNA permit many more loci to be tested simultaneously, with even higher levels of sensitivity on trace or degraded samples. DNA “lineage markers” such as mitochondrial DNA (which follow maternal lineages) and the Y-chromosome (which follows paternal lineages) were discussed, with, among other things, attention given to new…
The authorities must implement the BiH Law on Missing Persons fully and as a matter of urgency, participants at a roundtable in Mostar agreed today.
The roundtable, organized by the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP), brought together representatives of family associations and the authorities as well as academic and legal experts to discuss ways of increasing the effectiveness of efforts to account for the missing.
The BiH Law on Missing Persons was enacted at the end of 2004, providing for the establishment of the Missing Persons Institute (MPI) to coordinate the search for the missing, the establishment of the Central Records of Missing Persons, and the establishment of a Fund to ensure that families of the missing receive necessary financial support. The Law also prescribes procedures for memorials.
The MPI was launched in 2005 and became fully operational in 2008. The Central Records were created in 2011, but only half of…
Women Often Forgotten in Cases of Forced Disappearance
On 16 March the AllAfrica news portal covered the release of “The Disappeared and Invisible: Revealing the Enduring Impact of Enforced Disappearances on Women,” a report by the International Center for Transitional Justice (ICTJ). The ICTJ notes that while women are a minority of those who are forcibly disappeared, they represent “the majority of family members who suffer exacerbated social, economic, and psychological disadvantages as a result of the loss of a male family member who is often a breadwinner.” Surveying 31 countries – mostly in Africa and Central and South America – the ICTJ report states that in addition to torture and ill treatment, women who are illegally detained are often subject to gender-based violence including sexual violence and separation from their children. http://bit.ly/1BLVOGF
China detained nearly 1,000 activists last year: report
The China Post reports today that Chinese authorities detained nearly…