Monthly Archives: August 2016

Daily World News Digest, 18 August 2016

Naming the nameless: experts struggle to identify drowned migrants

Reuters reported on 17 August on the issue of migrants who have disappeared during the Mediterranean crossing to Europe. It examines the case of one man from Eritrea who is now living at a reception center in Italy and who has not seen his wife since 26 May, when they left Libya, packed by people smugglers onto two separate boats. The man was rescued, but his wife’s boat sank. “Helping people like Mose find out their loved ones’ fate is becoming ever more pressing as Europe’s migrant crisis drags on in its third year and the death toll rises,” the report says. It adds that “there is no common practice to collect information about these deaths between states or even sometimes within the same country, and a plan by the Dutch-based International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) to start tracing lost…

Daily World News Digest, 17 August 2016

Families of the disappeared in Nepal hand memo to PM

The Nepali Headlines portal reported on 17 August that families of the disappeared presented a memo to Nepal’s Prime Minister, Pushpa Kamal Dahal, on 16 August asking among other things that the government make public the status of those who were victims of enforced disappearance during the conflict. Receiving the 11-point memo, Prime Minister Dahal expressed his commitment to take the initiative to fulfill all the demands.

Rescued Chibok schoolgirl describes abduction and marriage

The International Business Times carries a story today on the experience of Amina Ali Darsha Nkeki, one of the 276 Chibok schoolgirls who were kidnapped by the Boko Haram group in northeastern Nigeria in April 2014. After her abduction, Ali was married to a Boko Haram member and later gave birth to a baby girl. In May 2016 she was found with her four-month-old baby and…

Daily World News Digest, 16 August 2016

Pakistan missing persons task force “a rubber stamp”

Pakistan Today reported on 15 August that the Sindh High Court (SHC) had expressed anger over the conduct of security forces in a missing persons case and had described a government task force on missing persons as “a rubber stamp”. The Court ordered security forces to respond to requests for information by the end of August and directed that concerted efforts should be undertaken for the recovery of missing persons. The Court is hearing the case of Zuhair Ali Zaidi, who was arrested by men in civilian clothes on 15 July.

Bangladeshi authorities accused of enforced disappearances

The CommonDreams news portal reported on 15 August on the case of Shafik Rehman, who was arrested on 16 April 2016 at his home in Dhaka, by policemen without an arrest warrant. The journalist has spent four months in jail, in very poor conditions and…

Daily World News Digest, 15 August 2016

Zimbabwe: forced disappearances are a crucial issue

The Zimbabwean carries a story today saying that forced disappearances are a legacy of President Robert Mugabe’s more than three decades in power, that urban and rural areas have been affected equally and that the practice has “perpetuated the intensity of fear” in the country. It concludes that “members of the security forces have been used to abduct civilian activists and those who would have crossed the regime’s path.”

Nigeria Chibok girls: Boko Haram video shows captives

The BBC reported on 14 August that the Nigerian Islamist group Boko Haram has released a video showing some of the schoolgirls they abducted from the northern town of Chibok. Some 50 girls are shown with a gunman who demands the release of fighters in return for the girls, and says some girls died in air strikes. The government says it is in touch with the…

Daily World News Digest, 12 August 2016

Kenya: Watershed ruling on lawyer’s disappearance and execution by police

Amnesty International issued a statement on 11 August responding to the Kenyan High Court ruling that human rights lawyer Willie Kimani and two others had been subject to enforced disappearance and later executed by police. “The court’s determination is a watershed moment in the history of justice in Kenya as it sheds the spotlight on the common but under-reported scourge of extrajudicial killings and enforced disappearances in the country,” said Victor Odero, Amnesty International’s East Africa Campaigner.

Philippines: President’s ‘Shoot to kill’ directive violates right to life

Amnesty International issued a statement on 10 August saying that Philippines President Roderigo Duterte’s promise on 5 August to maintain a “shoot to kill” order in his crackdown on crime is a clear violation of the fundamental human right to life and could lead to further killings in the country. Amnesty noted…

Daily World News Digest, 11 August 2016

Financial reward is ineffective in search for the missing in Bosnia and Herzegovina

BalkanInsight reported on 10 August that for a decade, one local council in Bosnia and Herzegovina has been offering a 5,000-euro reward to anyone who helps locate wartime missing persons, but all the information offered so far has been false, according to a municipal official, who said no one has come forward with any genuine information that would help locate people who disappeared during the war.

Philippines President urged to respect human rights

Human Rights Watch sent an open letter to Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte on 10 August urging him to focus on tackling the country’s persistent human rights problems. During his presidential campaign and his first weeks in office, Duterte has encouraged the use of lethal force against drug dealers and users – and there has been an alarming increase in killings of suspected drug dealers…

Daily World News Digest, 10 August 2016

Mediterranean migrant fatalities reach 3,176

The International Organization for Migration (IOM) reported on 9 August that 263,636 migrants and refugees entered Europe by sea in 2016 through 7 August, arriving mostly in Greece and Italy. IOM’s Missing Migrants Project reports migrant and refugee fatalities in the Mediterranean have already surpassed the total for the first eight months of 2015. The project recorded the deaths of 3,176 migrants and refugees through Sunday (8 August), including some 50 bodies recovered in Libya last week.

Fears of a “Calais in Italy” as migrants seek to enter France

The Daily Telegraph reported on 9 August that Italy fears “another Calais” on its border with France as desperate migrants and refugees are thwarted in their bid to cross the frontier and reach northern Europe. Tighter border controls by the French authorities have created a bottleneck around the Italian town of Ventimiglia, just a few miles…

Daily World News Digest, 9 August 2016

Burundi journalist missing for two weeks

All Africa reported on 7 August on the case of Burundian journalist Jean Bigirimana, who has not been seen or heard from since July 22. Bigirimana, a reporter with the independent weekly newspaper Iwacu, formerly with the pro-government radio station Rema FM, left his home in the capital Bujumbura around lunchtime on 22 July after receiving a phone call from a source in the country’s national intelligence service, Iwacu reported. He has not been seen or heard from since.

Extraordinary African Chambers Grants Reparations to Victims in Harbe Case

International Justice Resource Center reported on 8 August that following a May 2016 conviction for crimes against humanity, the Extraordinary African Chambers (EAC) issued an order on July 29 for Hissène Habré to pay monetary reparations to thousands of victims. The former president of Chad was sentenced to life imprisonment for crimes including murder,…

Daily World News Digest, 8 August 2016

New Sri Lanka government tries to give certainty to grieving relatives

The Economist reported on 6 August on efforts to address the issue of missing persons in Sri Lanka. In May Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera acknowledged that the country has one of the world’s largest caseloads of missing people. The new government ratified the UN convention on enforced disappearances and allowed its working group to visit, even throwing open a former secret detention facility and escorting its members to mass graves. The group concluded that “a chronic pattern of impunity still exists in cases of enforced disappearance”.

Pakistan human rights body concerned over missing Baloch activist

The Indian Express reported on 6 August that the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) has expressed grave concern over the enforced disappearance of a prominent Baloch social activist. The whereabouts of Abdul Wahid Baloch have not been known since 26 July when he was offloaded from a passenger…

Daily World News Digest, 5 August 2016

Call for action on enforced disappearances in Kenya

The Standard Digital reports today that more than 300 individuals have disappeared in Kenya since 2006. It says a lack of Government investigation and under-reporting by families due to fear of re-victimization makes it difficult to provide precise data. Reports by a wide range of human rights agencies such as the Open Society Foundation for East Africa, the Kenya National Commission on Human Rights, the Independent Medico-Legal Unit, Human Rights Watch and the Truth Justice and Reconciliation Commission (TJRC) have linked these cases to security agents.

Extrajudicial killings and enforced disappearances in Kenya

The Kituo Cha Sheria Legal Advice Centre in Nairobi published an article on 4 August about enforced disappearances and extrajudicial killings in Kenya, noting that “The public is outraged. The media is attentive to every detail of the latest disappearance/extra-judicial killing. Task forces are formed; the police are indignant…