Monthly Archives: December 2016

Women participate as peace negotiators in Colombia

Bojana Djokanovic analyzes the key role of gender perspectives in Colombia’s peace process.

The Colombian conflict started in the 1960s as a rural uprising for land rights that spawned the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC). Peace talks to end the longest -running conflict in the western hemisphere began in Havana in 2012 and have led to the warring sides reaching an understanding on peacebuilding measures that includes transitional justice, accounting for the disappeared and a plan for demobilizing the rebels’ estimated 7,000 fighters.

On 26 September 2016 the Colombian government, represented by President Juan Manuel Santos, and the FARC, represented by Commander-in-Chief Timoleon Jimenez, known as Timochenko, signed a historic agreement to bring an end to 52 years of conflict. However, on 2 October in a referendum in which the…

Albania: the long walk to identify the missing

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Matthew Holliday examines the evolution of a comprehensive missing persons strategy in Albania

Sulejman Mara died in 1954 in unknown circumstances at the infamous Burreli prison in Albania. He was 44. His body was never found. In post-World War II Albania, like so many others, Sulejman Mara was labeled an enemy of the proletariat – a persona non grata in a totalitarian state that zealously disposed of its enemies.

Today, Sulejman Mara is regarded as one of the politically persecuted. For Gentjana Sula, former Assistant Minister for Social Welfare and Youth, Sulejman Mara is the grandfather she never knew, a victim who deserves justice, a person whose fate – like that of thousands of others – must be elucidated, for the sake of his own family and for the sake of so many other families.

Romana Vlahutin, the EU Special Representative to Albania, understands only too well…

Daily World News Digest, 20 December 2016

Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein: enforced disappearance “an old phenomenon revived”

The OHCHR published a statement yesterday by High Commissioner Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein highlighting the serious human rights challenge of enforced disappearance. People are disappeared “in too many countries, with the direct or indirect involvement of the State”, he said.  “In the context of internal conflicts, transnational organized crime, humanitarian crises and the struggle against violent extremism, we are seeing this old phenomenon revived as well as new patterns of enforced disappearance.” The High Commissioner was speaking at the First Conference of States Parties to the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance. http://bit.ly/2hPkFaU

Thailand: wives of missing activists call for justice

The Bangkok Post reports today that human rights activists whose husbands are still missing years after they mysteriously vanished have urged the government to pass a law on preventing enforced disappearances in order to address…

Daily World News Digest, 19 December 2016

Mass graves must be protected in Iraq and Syria

The Conversation, a UK news portal, published a story on 15 December, dealing with conflict-related mass graves in Syria, Iraq, Cambodia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo and other parts of the world, noting that while there have been calls from some European parliamentarians for mass graves in Iraq and Syria to be protected, “implementing adequate safeguarding has yet to become a priority for the international community”. The article goes on to note that there are “compelling reasons” for mass to be protected. “They hold evidence that is important for the criminal investigations needed to bring perpetrators to justice. At the same time, the families of the dead have a need and right to know what happened to their loved ones. This requires identification and repatriation of the bodies. All too often, mass graves are disturbed and contaminated, compromising these ends.” http://bit.ly/2hAS09K

Villagers…

Daily World News Digest, 16 December 2016

Mass graves must be protected to ensure justice for the victims

The Conversation released an article yesterday about the protection of mass graves that have been discovered in different parts of the world. Decades after conflicts have ended, countries including Cambodia, Bosnia and Kosovo are continuing to grapple with their legacy, the article says, adding that, while there have been calls from some European parliamentarians for mass graves in Iraq and Syria to be protected, implementing adequate safeguarding has yet to become a priority for the international community. There are compelling reasons why mass graves need to be protected. They hold evidence that is important for the criminal investigations needed to bring perpetrators to justice. At the same time, the families of the dead have a need and right to know what happened to their loved ones. This requires identification and repatriation of the bodies. All too often, mass graves are…

Daily World News Digest, 15 December 2016

UN: summary executions, enforced disappearances in Aleppo

The New Arab reports today that the United Nation’s Commission of Inquiry for Syria (COI) said Wednesday it had noted the grave allegations levelled against pro-government forces in Aleppo, including “summary executions, arbitrary arrests, enforced disappearances and forced conscription”. The commission said Syrian President Bashar Assad’s government was now in “effective control” of eastern Aleppo, a former rebel stronghold, and therefore had “primary responsibility” for ensuring that violations in the city are stopped. And, with the deal struck late Tuesday for the evacuation of rebels from Aleppo on hold, the COI echoed a call made across the humanitarian community that civilians be allowed to leave conflict zones safely. http://bit.ly/2hzajJB

Launch of the ICMP Guide for families of the missing in Kosovo

Gazeta Express carried an article yesterday about the launch of the new ICMP Guide for families of the Missing Persons in Kosovo, which explains the…

ICMP and EU Office in Kosovo Launch Guide for Families of the Missing

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The International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) and the EU Office in Kosovo today launched “The Kosovo Guide for Families of the Missing: Institutions, Process and the Rights of the Families”.

The Guide contains information on the institutions and their roles in addressing the missing persons issue, information on legislation and reparations, including the rights of families, the definition of a missing person – and how this definition is arrived at, how to report a missing person, the process of location and recovery of mortal remains, and the use of DNA for the purpose of human identification; as well as information on the role of civil society and memorialization, and instructions on the use of ICMP’s Online Inquiry Center (OIC).

The Guide is one of the main outputs of the project “Resolving the missing Persons Cases – Breaking the Impasse” funded through…

ICMP and IOM Co-Host Inter-Agency Meeting On Missing Migrants

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The International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) and the International Organization for Migration (IOM) have convened an Inter-Agency Roundtable on processing and managing data relevant to finding missing refugees and migrants. The day-long event held at ICMP’s headquarters in The Hague on 9 December, brought together a number of agencies and government representatives.

The meeting addressed current provisions for processing and managing data on missing refugees and migrants, and provisions for improved data collection, sharing, analysis and mechanisms to help resolve the fate of the missing.  During the meeting, it was stressed that addressing the issue of refugees and migrants who go missing requires the cooperation of international and national organizations as well as states. While some organizations collect data on migrant fatalities, there is less focus on information that can be used to help families find their missing loved ones. Due in…

Daily World News Digest, 14 December 2016

Ratko Mladic trial due to end on 15 December

France 24 reported yesterday on the four-year trial of Ratko Mladic, former military chief of the Bosnian Serbs, which is due to end on 15 December. Of the 30,000 people who went missing in Bosnia and Herzegovina between 1992 and 1995, 8,000 are still unaccounted for, the article says. The corpses are identified in the laboratories of the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP). The families of the victims provided blood samples to allow DNA comparison with human remains. The article notes that 89 percent of Srebrenica genocide victims who have been identified have been identified using this procedure. http://f24.my/2hvBNjt

NGO defends report on extrajudicial killings in Kenya

The Mombasa News reported yesterday that Haki Africa, a human rights NGO, has defended its report on extrajudicial killings in Kenya’s Coast province. The organization’s executive director, Hussein Khalid, said the report contained factual…

Dutch Government Reinforces Support for ICMP’s Global Efforts to Address the Missing

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The Government of the Kingdom of the Netherlands has made a financial contribution of EUR 1 million to support the International Commission on Missing Persons’ (ICMP) global operations and its transition to new headquarters in The Hague.

The Kingdom of the Netherlands has supported ICMP for twenty years in its successful effort to help the authorities in the Western Balkans locate tens of thousands of persons missing as a result of the conflict in the 1990s.

Under the agreement signed between ICMP and the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs on 1 December, ICMP will use the new unearmarked funding to develop its global capacity.

The problem of missing and disappeared persons has intensified over the last two decades for a variety of reasons including climate change, migration, organized crime, and political instability in some parts of the world. ICMP is the only international organization…