EU Special Representative and Head of the European Union Delegation in Bosnia and Herzegovina Ambassador Lars-Gunnar Wigemark visited the Identification Coordination Facility (ICF) of the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) in Tuzla today, accompanied by the Head of ICMP’s Western Balkans Programs, Matthew Holliday.
The ICF acts as the nexus for ICMP’s identification programs and is responsible for receiving and archiving biological samples from around the world, which are in turn prepared for DNA testing in ICMP’s laboratory system. It also administers the DNA matching process and produces and archives DNA match reports, which are submitted to government authorities to assist them in the process of identifying missing persons.
Since ICMP’s DNA laboratory system went online in late 2001, ICMP has helped to make around 20,000 DNA-based identifications worldwide. ICMP maintains a standing capacity to work on up to 10,000 cases a year. …
Asian ambassadors discuss issue of missing persons
The Diplomat, a magazine from the Netherlands, reported on 27 April that Sri Lanka’s Ambassador to the Netherlands, A. M. J. Sadiq, hosted a meeting of ambassadors from Asia in The Hague to highlight the work of the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) and to discuss the issue of missing and disappeared persons in the region. “ The issue of missing persons is a global phenomenon, and Asian countries are unfortunately also affected by it, through a variety of causes”, Ambassador Sadiq said, adding that since ICMP now has its headquarters in The Hague it was possible to invite ambassadors to meet with ICMP Director-General Kathryn Bomberger to learn more about ICMP’s mandate and activities. http://bit.ly/1SM0YuV
Bones found in Thai forest indicate forced disappearances
The Nation, a daily from Thailand, reported today that the discovery of mass-cremation sites in an Udon Thani forest…
China rejects EU criticism of Hong Kong policy
Voice of America carried a story on 26 April saying that EU criticism of China’s rule over Hong Kong is unfounded, China’s Foreign Ministry said on Tuesday, after an EU report called the disappearance of five booksellers the most serious challenge to the “one country, two systems” principle since the city’s return to Chinese control. The disappearances of the five publishers who sold books critical of Chinese leaders had provoked concern that China was using shadowy tactics to erode the formula under which Hong Kong has been governed since its return to China from British rule in 1997 one country, two systems principle into “serious doubt.” http://bit.ly/1SM9Tj5
Confusion reigns over number of missing after Ecuador earthquake
El País carried a story on 26 April saying that Ecuador’s authorities say 130 people are still missing 10 days after a 7.8 magnitude earthquake shook the…
Sri Lanka’s Ambassador to the Netherlands, A.M.J. Sadiq, today hosted a meeting of ambassadors from Asia in The Hague to highlight the work of the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) and to discuss the issue of missing and disappeared persons in the region.
ICMP first worked in Asia when its staff were deployed in Thailand to help identify victims of the December 2004 tsunami. Since then it has cooperated with the authorities in the Philippines and Vietnam. In October 2015 it launched a series of consultations in Sri Lanka with a view to contributing to a comprehensive, countrywide effort to account for the large numbers of missing from the 25-year conflict.
“The issue of missing persons is a global phenomenon, and Asian countries are unfortunately also affected by it, through a variety of causes,“ Ambassador Sadiq said, adding that since ICMP now has…
Women and child trafficking increased after earthquake in Nepal
The Himalayan Times, a daily from Nepal, carried a story today saying that the National Human Rights Commission issued a national report saying the massive earthquake of 25 April, 2015 had greatly increased the vulnerability to trafficking especially of women and children. Evidences confirm there is nexus of foreign labor migration and trafficking in persons. The NHRC report said 8,000 to 8,500 persons were trafficked in each of the fiscal years of 2013/14 and 2014/15. Records of Nepal Police indicate that a total of 1,233 women and children were reported to be missing during three months after the earthquake. http://bit.ly/1VUo8CO
ICC opens preliminary probe into Burundi violence
Voice of America reported on 25 April that the International Criminal Court says it is opening a preliminary probe into the violence that erupted last year in Burundi. International Criminal Court prosecutor Fatou Bensouda says…
Mexico missing students: Government ‘hampered’ independent inquiry
The BBC reported today that a panel of international experts investigating the disappearance of 43 Mexican trainee teachers in 2014 says the government has hampered its inquiries. In their final report, the experts dismissed the conclusions of the official inquiry. They said officials failed to pursue the investigative lines they suggested. The case provoked outrage in Mexico, leading to street protests against perceived impunity. “The delays in obtaining evidence that could be used to figure out possible lines of investigation translates into a decision to (allow) impunity,” said the Interdisciplinary Group of Independent Experts (GIEI) in its report. http://bbc.in/1WkWmhD
Veracruz search finds remains in 15 areas
Mexico News Daily carried a story on 23 April saying that the newly-launched National Search Brigade for Disappeared People had concluded its first two weeks by locating human remains in 15 different areas in the state of Veracruz….
EU Special Representative and Head of the European Union Delegation in Bosnia and Herzegovina Lars-Gunnar Wigemark, together with the Director of Finance and Administration of the International Commission on Missing persons (ICMP), Sanjiv Ray, have signed a contract under which the European Union will continue to fund the work of ICMP in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
The contract, worth 1 million Euros over a period of one year, will enable ICMP to assist Bosnia and Herzegovina in the complex process of locating and identifying missing persons from the conflicts of the 1990s.
“The European Union understands the essential need to account for the missing in Bosnia and Herzegovina,” Ambassador Wigemark said. “It helps fulfill the families’ right to know the fate and whereabouts of their missing relatives and to access their rights to justice. Lasting peace and reconciliation cannot be achieved without a credible and…
Iraq identifies 6 victims from mass graves in IS-free Ramadi
ABC News reported on 21 April that six bodies have been identified so far from two mass graves unearthed this week in the western city of Ramadi, officials said Thursday. Arrested Islamic State militants had led authorities on Tuesday to the mass graves inside the city’s soccer stadium, believed to contain up to 40 bodies. The city’s mayor, Ibrahim al-Osag, said the bodies, and those of some two dozen other people were reburied after DNA samples were taken. Councilman Athal al-Fahdawi said 32 bodies have been exhumed so far, and authorities are waiting for more forensic teams to come to Ramadi. http://abcn.ws/1Sd7aNl
Nigeria: Military cover-upat Zaria
Amnesty International issued a statement today saying that mass slaughter of hundreds of men, women and children by soldiers in Zaria and the attempted cover-up of this crime demonstrates contempt for human life and accountability….
Massive loss of life reported in latest Mediterranean tragedy
UNHCR issued a statement on 20 April saying that a UNHCR team has interviewed survivors of an overcrowded boat that sank in the Mediterranean in what could be one of the worst tragedies involving refugees and migrants in the last 12 months. If confirmed, as many as 500 people may have lost their lives. The survivors told UNHCR staff that they had been part of a group of between 100 and 200 people who departed last week from a locality near Tobruk in Libya on a 30-metre-long boat. “After several hours at sea, the smugglers in charge of the boat attempted to transfer the passengers to a larger ship carrying hundreds of people in terribly overcrowded conditions,” UNHCR said in a statement. “At one point during the transfer, the larger boat capsized and sank.” http://bit.ly/20XgZkL
Italy begins operations to retrieve bodies of…
Mass graves discovered in former Isis-controlled Iraqi city of Ramadi
The Independent reported today that mass graves containing around 40 people, including women and children, have been discovered in the Iraqi city of Ramadi, officials have said. The bodies are believed to be victims of Islamist extremist group Isis, who controlled the city until December 2015. Officials said Isis militants who were captured and arrested after Iraqi forces drove the extremists from the city, led authorities to the site of the mass graves inside the city’s football stadium. In addition to women and children, the bodies of men in civilian clothes were found in the two graves. http://ind.pn/1NAowOG
Commission for Missing Persons boycotts forum on 1965 anti-communist purge
Coconuts Jakarta, a news portal from Indonesia, carried a story on 19 April saying that Commission for Mising Persons (Kontras) activists boycotted a state-backed forum on the anti-communist purge of 1965 on Tuesday,…