Monthly Archives: February 2016

Daily World News Digest, 15 February 2016

New mass grave discovered in eastern Syria

Press TV, Iranian broadcasting service, reported today that security authorities in Syria say locals have found a new mass grave in the country’s embattled eastern province of Dayr al-Zawr, which is believed to be containing the remains of tens of people executed by Daesh terrorists. The residents uncovered the grave on the outskirts of Marat Village, located more than 450 kilometers (280 miles) northeast of the capital, Damascus, on Sunday. The source said that the mass grave is thought to contain the remains of more than 100 civilians, among them children, who were killed by Daesh when Marat fell several months ago. http://bit.ly/1RF9wVr

Egypt: 25 reappear in Alexandria after reported enforced disappearances

Daily News Egypt carried a story on 14 February saying that after nine days of reported enforced disappearance, around 25 persons who were arrested from their households earlier this month appeared Saturday…

World News Digest January

 

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.

In January media reported actions taken by authorities in Asia, notably China, that appear to place government opponents at increased risk of enforced disappearance, while In Vietnam and Sri Lanka, authorities are moving forward with initiatives aimed at accounting for the missing from past conflicts.

China

On 8 January Time Magazine reported a call by the European Union for an investigation into the recent disappearance of five individuals connected to a Hong Kong-based publisher of books critical of Chinese government officials. Two of the…

Ukraine’s Forgotten Missing and Disappeared

Since the spring of 2014 when conflict (“counter-terrorism”, as it is more often described by parties on both sides) began in Eastern Ukraine, thousands are believed to have gone missing as a result of refugee flight, fighting, reprisals and abductions. Following Russia’s annexation of Crimea in March 2014, a marked deterioration in the human rights environment on the peninsula has been reported. Despite the “Minsk 2” agreement of February 2015, which provided for a ceasefire but which has never been fully implemented, human rights organizations and media continue to report widespread human rights abuses and casualties in Eastern Ukraine.

As a consequence of the conflict, it is estimated that 86,000 people have been internally displaced, over 6,000 have been injured and more than 3,000 have been killed. The exact number of those…

A Cornerstone of Peacemaking

Arria_NY_Op-Ed

By Thomas Miller and Kathryne Bomberger

Today, the number of missing and disappeared persons (MDPs) around the world as a result of conflict and political unrest can be measured in millions. This means millions of families may never know the fate of a loved one. It means millions of reasons for fear, for anger, and for alienation.

From Sri Lanka to Mexico to Pakistan, addressing the issue of MDPs is a prerequisite for political and social recovery. Over the last two decades a new consensus has emerged that resolving this issue is a cornerstone of peacemaking.

The International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP), established in 1996 at the initiative of former President Bill Clinton to help the authorities in the Western Balkans account for 40,000 persons missing as a result of the Yugoslav conflict, is leading a concerted effort to turn this emerging international consensus…

Enforced Disappearances in China

Lejla Hodzic examines legal and extra-legal strategies adopted by the authorities in China in an apparent bid to stifle dissent.

When the Chinese authorities arrested or detained more than 280 lawyers and activists in July 2015, the move was viewed as an explicit crackdown on human rights. Not only were detainees prevented from practicing law – and therefore prevented from pursuing human rights cases through legal channels – they were held in conditions that are tantamount to enforced disappearance.

Regularizing the conditions of detention for some, in January this year the Chinese authorities raised formal charges against seven lawyers who had been held in secret detention.

Consistent with a systematic effort to maintain legality while restricting the scope for human rights advocacy by members of the legal profession, the authorities recently amended…

Human Rights in Nigeria – Chibok Abductions and Disappearances

 

Bojana Djokanovic examines the challenge to Nigerian society posed by mass abductions by insurgent groups and military counter-terrorism operations in the northeast of the country.

Nearly two years since the abduction of about 270 girls from Chibok, Borno State, northeast Nigeria, in April 2014 by Boko Haram, the whereabouts of more than 200 of these girls remains unknown. Boko Haram has waged a six-year insurgency to establish an Islamist state in the northeast of Africa’s biggest economy and pledged allegiance to Islamic State in 2015. The Chibok kidnapping sparked an international social media campaign, #BringBackOurGirls, which has included participation by Nigerian citizens and activists and by international celebrities and politicians. The campaign has amplified awareness of Boko Haram kidnappings of young women and made this one of the most known…

The Tragedy of Missing Young People and Children

 

The Mediterranean “refugee and migrant crisis” has led to an increasing number of children and minors going missing on dangerous routes to safety and a better life. At the end of January, EUROPOL Chief of Staff Brian Donald told The Observer newspaper that more than 10,000 children and unaccompanied minors may have gone missing since the start of the crisis. The authorities believe some of these unaccounted for children may be victims of trafficking, slavery, sexual exploitation and other criminal activities. These include children who have begun their journeys unaccompanied, or whose parents or guardians died along the way, or who were forcibly taken from their parents on the migrant and refugee route.

While as many as 5,000 children may have disappeared in Italy alone, the Council of Europe has…

Daily World News Digest, 12 February 2016

UAE: Jordanian journalist held incommunicado

Human Rights Watch issued a statement today saying that a Jordanian journalist working in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) has been held incommunicado since the UAE Criminal Investigations Department in Abu Dhabi summoned him on 13 December, 2015. UAE authorities should immediately disclose where they are holding the journalist, Tayseer al-Najjar, 42, and immediately allow him to contact a lawyer and his family. “Al-Najjar’s case bears all the marks of the UAE’s shameful practice of forced disappearances and incommunicado detentions,” said Joe Stork, deputy Middle East director. http://bit.ly/1Lkp0HO

UK says Hong Kong bookseller ‘abduction breaches China treaty’

The BBC reported today that the UK has said a British bookseller who has disappeared in Hong Kong was likely “involuntarily removed” to China, calling it a “serious breach” of the handover treaty. The statement from Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond is the UK’s strongest comment so far on the…

Daily World News Digest, 11 February 2016

UN wants to send experts for Burundi mass graves probe

Yahoo News reported today that United Nations wants to send independent forensics experts to Burundi to help authorities investigate allegations of mass graves in the strife-torn country. After a government security crackdown in December, witnesses came forward with accounts of at least nine mass graves in and around Bujumbura including one in a military camp where more than 100 bodies were allegedly buried. UN Assistant Secretary-General for Human Rights Ivan Simonovic told reporters that a Burundian prosecutor had opened an investigation of the alleged mass graves and that the United Nations had offered to help. http://yhoo.it/1Qa7UUd

Pope Francis must resist Mexico’s well-oiled PR machine

Amnesty International issued a news on 10 February saying that Pope Francis’ visit to Mexico was controversial from the start. It was reported that high on the Pope’s agenda were the disappearance of the Ayotzinapa students and…

Daily World News Digest, 10 February 2016

Mass graves to be studied at new Sydney body farm

The Sydney Morning Herald reported today that Australian forensic scientists will simulate the mass war graves of Iraq, Syria and the Balkans at Australia’s new body farm, which began operating last week at a highly secure site west of Sydney. The site will be used by a range of experts to improve understanding of human decomposition.  Victorian scientists will also use the Sydney bush site to study the decomposition of co-mingled bodies in a mass grave, usually caused by political, religious or ethnic violence. The project’s co-director is Jon Sterenberg, a forensic archaeologist who was head of the ICMP excavation and examination division in Croatia, Serbia, Kosovo, Montenegro and Bosnia and Herzegovina. http://bit.ly/1KbjnRg

UN rights chief urges Sri Lanka government to locate missing civilians

The Jurist issued a news on 9 February saying that UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid…