Monthly Archives: April 2016

Daily World News Digest, 19 April 2016

Migrant crisis: Hundreds dead after capsize, say survivors

The BBC reported today that hundreds of migrants drowned when their boat capsized in the Mediterranean, survivors have told the BBC – although there is no official confirmation. The 41 survivors say they were transferred to another vessel when it sank in the middle of the night. They said that up to 500 people died, but coastguards in the region have been unable to confirm their accounts. According to the survivors, about 240 migrants left the Libyan port city of Tobruk heading for Italy. Once out in the Mediterranean, they said they were transferred to a larger boat already packed with more than 300 people, which then capsized.

Nearly six hundred migrants arrive in Italy

The Wall Street Journal reported on 18 April that nearly 600 migrants were rescued and brought to Italy between Sunday and Monday, the International Organization for Migration…

Daily World News Digest, 18 April 2016

US report on human rights violations cites disappearances in Pakistan

The News International, a daily from Pakistan, reported on 16 April that the US State Department has issued its annual Country Report on Human Rights Practices for the Year 2015.  The said report highlights incidents of human rights violations against the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) at the hands of law enforcement agencies, including incidents of enforced disappearances of MQM workers. The MQM alleged that the paramilitary Sindh Rangers kidnapped, tortured and killed some of its members in ongoing security operations in Karachi. They claimed that as of August, 151 MQM members remained missing.

Bosnia marks anniversary of Ahmici massacre

World Bulltein, a news portal from Turkey, carried a story on 16 April saying that Bosnia has marked the 23rd anniversary of a massacre in the village of Ahmici during the Bosnian War. Members of the Croatian Defense Council on 16…

Daily World News Digest, 15 April 2016

Nigeria Chibok girls shown alive in Boko Haram video

The BBC carried a story on 14 April saying that friends and family members of Nigerian schoolgirls kidnapped two years ago say they have identified some of them in a new video obtained by CNN. The footage, apparently filmed in December, shows 15 girls in black robes identifying themselves. The girls were taken from a school in the town of Chibok by members of the Islamist group Boko Haram.  Relatives of the girls marched in the capital, Abuja, on Thursday, the second anniversary of their abduction. The footage of the girls is the first to be seen since May 2014, when around 100 of them were shown in a video.

Nigeria: Two years after Chibok abductions it is time to #BringBackOurGirls

Amnesty International issued a statement on 14 April, on the second anniversary of the armed group’s abductions, saying that all…

Daily World News Digest, 14 April 2016

Amnesty International demands trials after Nigerian mass grave revealed

Voice of America carried a story on 13 April saying that Amnesty International is calling for trials following revelations that Nigeria’s Kaduna state government secretly buried the bodies of nearly 350 slain Shi’ite Muslims in a mass grave. Kaduna state officials told a panel of inquiry Monday that the bodies were buried in the bush after clashes between army troops and members of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN) in the town of Zaria in December. “It is now imperative that the mass grave sites are protected in order that a full independent forensic investigation can begin,” M.K. Ibrahim, the director of Amnesty International Nigeria, said.

Indonesia urged to hold truth and reconciliation process over massacres

The Guardian reported on 13 April that calls for the Indonesian government to launch a truth and reconciliation process to address the slaughter of half…

World News Digest March


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.


On 2 March, the Menafn news portal carried a story on El Nadeem Centre for the Rehabilitation of Victims of Violence, which has continued its work via social media despite an order from the Ministry of Health for it to close. The portal said a recent report by the center had observed 155 cases of enforced disappearances, and 44 cases of reappeared persons after an enforced disappearance. The Al Monitor news…

Argentina’s rule-of-law approach to addressing a legacy of enforced disappearances


By Bojana Djokanovic

As many as 30,000 persons are believed to have disappeared during Argentina’s “Dirty War” (a term coined in the United States but considered insulting in Argentina) between 1976 and 1983. In these seven years, the Argentine military dictatorship carried out a systematic campaign of repression against citizens it labeled as dissidents or rebels. Men and women who opposed the government – or who were simply perceived as opposing the government – were taken to secret government detention centers and never heard from again. Furthermore, it is estimated that as many as 500 children born in prisons and camps were taken from their mothers at birth and illegally given up for adoption.

In the midst of political instability and severe economic difficulties, a military junta led by Jorge Videla seized power in 1976. The military, backed by conservative forces in…

Media and the Missing


Lejla Softic considers the impact of ethnic and cultural bias in media and policy responses to conflict and the issue of missing persons.

On 22 March this year, at least 31 people were killed by bombs that were detonated in the airport and metro in Brussels. There was a global expression of sympathy, outrage and support for the people of the Belgian capital. However, in March alone, six countries across the world experienced brutal terrorist attacks: Belgium, Iraq, Ivory Coast, Nigeria, Pakistan and Turkey.

An article published by the US newspaper The Nation in January this year showed how terrorist attacks in Western countries receive far more media coverage than attacks in non-Western countries. Not only is coverage less extensive, it is qualitatively different.

The Nation article focused on media reports about three attacks in November 2015: Beirut (November 12), Baghdad (November…

ICMP helps to resolve cold case from Canada


Lejla Hodzic describes how a 35-year old mystery was partly resolved through state-of-the-art DNA matching techniques.

After 35 years of waiting, the Johnston family from British Columbia, Canada, have finally been able to lay their son to rest. This has been made possible because of advancements in technology that have taken place since Robert (Bob) William Johnston went missing in 1981, and since his remains were found 14 years later. Despite extensive investigation and testing, it was not possible until now to make a conclusive identification of the remains.

Robert (Bob) William Johnston was 19 years old when he disappeared from Prince Rupert, his hometown on British Colombia’s North Coast.  In 1995, skeletal remains were found by hikers on the south side of Mount Hays. Believing the remains might belong to their son, Bob’s parents donated DNA for analysis. Technology at the…

A Way Forward in Sri Lanka

Andreas Kleiser analyzes the essential role of resolving the issue of missing and disappeared persons in Sri Lanka as part of the country’s postwar recovery.

ICMP and the Guatemalan Forensic Anthropology Foundation (Fundación de Antropología Forense de Guatemala: FAFG) held two roundtables in Sri Lanka in March, one in the eastern port of Trincomalee (14/15 March) and the other in the capital, Colombo (17/18 March). The objective was to bring together stakeholders and examine steps that have to be taken in order to establish a systematic and effective process to account for those who are missing as a result of more than 25 years of conflict.

The total number of MDPs in Sri Lanka is unknown. The current Sri Lankan Presidential Commission to Investigate into Complaints Regarding Missing Persons (PCICMP), covering the period…

Positive prospects for addressing the issue of missing persons in Colombia


Bojana Djokanovic examines new and hopeful prospects for accounting for tens of thousands of missing and disappeared persons in Colombia

In September 2015 the Colombian government and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) began the latest round of peace talks in their long-running conflict, agreeing in principle that a peace agreement would be signed in March 2016. The talks in Havana reached agreement on issues such as sentence reduction for those who admit to crimes, and the FARC accepted a disarmament plan. However, the peace deal deadline was missed after the opposing sides failed to agree on ensuring a permanent cease-fire.

The conflict in…