By Lejla Hodzic
More than ten years ago, a UN official described the conflict in Uganda as “the biggest forgotten, neglected humanitarian emergency in the world,” adding that the war in the northern part of the country targeted the civilian population, especially children.
Since its declaration of independence in 1962, Uganda has experienced conflicts among different ethnic, religious and national groups, but the scale of atrocities committed by the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) over a period of more than 20 years has been particularly shocking. The LRA insurgency continues – albeit with diminished intensity – today, with children being the principal victims of abductions and forcible conscription.
The LRA came to prominence in the 1980s, one of several rebel movements in Uganda’s economically and politically marginalized north. The group, led by Joseph Kony, began practicing extreme brutality against the Acholi people…
By Bojana Djokanovic
In February 2016, the news portal Spanish News Today reported the exhumation of the remains of Timoteo Mendieta from a mass grave in Guadalajara. The exhumation was ordered by an Argentinian judge. Mendieta was a victim of the Franco regime, killed in the months after the end of the Spanish civil war. His remains, which were found together with those of 19 or 20 other people, were to be removed from the mass grave and, following DNA analysis in Argentina to confirm the identity, were to be buried elsewhere in accordance with the wishes of his daughter.
The Spanish civil war, from 1936 to 1939, ended with the victory of General Francisco Franco’s Nationalist forces, which had received military support from Germany and Italy. The conflict was characterized by human rights violations and war crimes, perhaps the…
By Bojana Djokanovic
More than 17,000 people are believed to have disappeared as a result of the conflict in Lebanon between 1975 and 1990.
The conflict included domestic, regional and international actors, which has complicated issues of responsibility and accountability. Peace in the country remains fragile, especially in light of the spillover effect from current regional instability.
Although some legislative and administrative steps have been taken in order to assist families of the missing, a broad-based, government-supported legal and social strategy has not been implemented, which means that only a very small number of missing persons have been located and identified from the earlier conflict. Decades after a formal peace settlement was reached, the issue of the missing remains a serious obstacle to long-term peace, sustainability and progress.
However, civil society has been persistent in keeping the…
Council of Europe meeting on missing persons in Cyprus
Cyprus Mail reported on 8 March that discussions began on Tuesday at the Council of Europe (CoE) Committee of Ministers in Strasbourg on the issue of missing persons in Cyprus. Turkey recently circulated a memorandum at the CoE, reiterating its previous call for access to be granted in military sites in the government-controlled areas as “places where there is credible evidence that there are remains belonging to reported missing persons”. The CoE discussions will go on until Thursday in order to examine implementation of human rights judgments, which included the issue of missing persons. http://bit.ly/1OZunfG
Beyond Boko Haram: Child abductions in Nigeria
Christianity Today magazine carried a story on 8 March saying that this month, two girls who had been kidnapped and subject to forced conversion and marriage in northern Nigeria were returned to their families after unprecedented public pressure. Fourteen-year-old Ese…
UN raps Bosnia for violating war widow’s rights
Balkan Insight reported today that the UN’s Human Rights Committee has said that Bosnia and Herzegovina must find and prosecute those responsible for the disappearance of Salih Dovadzija and allow members of his family “psychological rehabilitation and adequate reparations”, his widow’s legal representative told. “The country is also obligated to stop similar offences in the future and must ensure that information about investigations into enforced disappearances be open and available to families of missing persons,” the committee said in a statement last week. Sakiba Dovadzija told that her husband was arrested and detained by Bosnian Serb forces and never seen alive again. After 23 years, his remains were found in the Pale municipality. http://bit.ly/1p4g6ZY
ICMP and GRULAC countries discuss issue of missing and disappeared persons
El Ojo Digital, a news portal from Argentine, reported on 7 March that Colombia’s Ambassador to the Netherlands,…
Migrant crisis: Boat sinking off Didim, Turkey claims 25 lives
The BBC reported on 6 March that a boat carrying migrants from Turkey to Greece has sunk with the loss of 25 lives, Turkey’s coast guard says. Fifteen people were rescued after the boat capsized near the Turkish resort of Didim. Reports suggest Macedonia has set new curbs on Syrian migrants trying to cross the land border from Greece. NATO is expanding its mission in the Aegean to send patrols to Turkish and Greek territorial waters in the battle to defeat people smugglers. http://bbc.in/1LKdg6K
Second ‘missing’ Hong Kong bookseller returns home from China
Japan Times reported on 6 March that the second of five “missing” Hong Kong booksellers who was detained on the mainland returned to Honk Kong on Sunday, authorities said. Cheung Chi-ping’s return to Hong Kong comes a week after he appeared on Chinese television with four of his…
Bosnian war crimes lab ID’s remains found in B.C. as teen who disappeared 35 years ago
CBC News carried a story on 3 March saying that the International Commission on Missing Persons lab that specializes in identifying victims of war crimes has been able to link human remains found in northern British Columbia two decades ago to a Prince Rupert teenager who went missing in 1981. Robert (Bob) William Johnston was 19 years old when he disappeared. Fourteen years after Johnston’s disappearance, hikers found skeletal remains on Mount Hays. The bones were confirmed as belonging to Johnston by the ICMP laboratory, which developed its advanced techniques and protocols as it worked to identify bones found in unmarked or mass graves. http://bit.ly/1L6VKJS
Mexico to investigate the massacre of Central American migrants
Telesur news portal reported on 3 March that the Mexican Supreme Court ordered Wednesday the Attorney General’s Office to open an…
Diplomats discuss the missing persons issue in The Hague
El Pais Costa Rica reported on 2 March that Colombia’s Ambassador to the Netherlands, Juan Jose Quintana, hosted a meeting of diplomats from the Group of Latin American Countries (GRULAC) 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. Countries in Latin America face complex challenges related to accounting for missing persons. However, effective strategies have been developed and governments and other stakeholders can address the issue successfully by working with one another and with international agencies, Kathryne Bomberger, the Director-General of the ICMP, said during the meeting. http://bit.ly/1UALZWq
Jim Kimsey dies at 76
The New York Times reported on 2 March that Jim Kimsey, a dot-com entrepreneur who helped turn a failed video game company into America Online, the giant dial-up service…
Colombia’s Ambassador to the Netherlands, Juan Jose Quintana, today hosted a meeting of diplomats from the Group of Latin American Countries (GRULAC) 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.
Countries in Latin America face complex challenges related to accounting for missing persons. In some cases the numbers run into the tens of thousands. However, effective strategies have been developed and governments and other stakeholders can address the issue successfully by working with one another and with international agencies, Kathryne Bomberger, the Director-General of the International Commission on Missing Persons, said during the meeting.
She noted that the issue of missing persons is a global challenge. Legislative initiatives that have worked in one country may work in other countries. Also, where the issue is…
Provinces commit to help inquiry into missing, murdered Indigenous women
MacLean’s magazine carried a story on 1 March saying that the provinces agreed Friday to co-operate with and support a national inquiry into missing and murdered aboriginal women. Indigenous and Northern Affairs Minister Carolyn Bennett called the commitment an important step forward. The commitment means child welfare, policing, education and other areas that are fully or partly under provincial jurisdiction will be examined when the inquiry starts up. The governments also issued a joint four-page document that, in broad terms, commits them to improve the social and economic conditions faced by aboriginals. http://bit.ly/217E6HI
Parents of 5 missing Mexican youths await proof kids are dead
Latin American Herald Tribune carried a story today saying that relatives of the five young people who disappeared 11 January in the Mexican Gulf state of Veracruz will accept authorities’ account that they are dead “the day…