Yearly Archives: 2016

Daily World News Digest, 13 December 2016

UN urges Albania to identify Communist-era victims

Balkan Insight reports today that a UN team working on enforced disappearances says the authorities in Albania have done too little to help victims of communist-era persecution find the bodies of the missing or mass graves. Almost 26 years after the fall of Communism in Albania, the report says, those persecuted by the Stalinist regime have little hope that the state will ever identify around 6,000 remains of people who were executed or died in regime camps and prisons. On Monday, the UN Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances comprising five independent experts, after an eight-day fact-gathering mission in Albania, criticized the authorities for doing little to help identify the communist regime’s victims.

Opening of first Serbian Srebrenica trial delayed

Balkan Insight reported yesterday that the expected opening of the first case to be prosecuted in Serbia related to the 1995 Srebrenica massacre…

Daily World News Digest, 12 December 2016

Kenya: call to establish a Commission of Inquiry into violations by security agencies

Einnews, a general news website, reports today that human rights organizations and media outlets have found credible evidence that units of the Kenyan security forces, including the Kenya Police Service, the Kenya Defense Forces (KDF), the Kenya Wildlife Service, (KWS), and the National Intelligence Service (NIS), have killed, disappeared, and tortured people suspected of being terrorists or criminals. Justice for such cases has been inconsistent and victims are often left without avenues for redress, it says.  “The Kenyan president has a responsibility to ensure that all government forces respect national and international human rights law and adhere to due process,” said Otsieno Namwaya, Africa researcher at Human Rights Watch. “Victims of killings and disappearances by security agencies deserve answers, and a commission of inquiry is a critical first step.”

Mexico’s war on drugs – ten years…

Daily World News Digest, 9 December 2016

Former Serb leader: “traitors” committed Srebrenica crimes

Balkan Insight yesterday reported on an interview in which former Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic, who has been convicted of genocide in Srebrenica, said the massacre was perpetrated by “traitors to the Serb people”. Telling the interviewer that the massacre “should not have happened” he told the Nedeljnik newspaper “It was idiotic and stupid, to commit a crime which could have been avoided.”

US border patrols accused of killing migrants

Telesur reported yesterday that thousands of migrants crossing the U.S-Mexico border have been killed and disappeared because of U.S. Border Patrol practices, which have fueled a “missing persons crisis,” according to a new report released Wednesday. The joint report by the Arizona-based advocacy groups No More Deaths and The Coalition for Human Rights says U.S. border patrol agents operating around the borderland deserts are using deadly apprehension methods to chase migrants into “life-threatening…

Daily World News Digest, 8 December 2016

Missing persons in Pakistan

 Deutsche Welle reported yesterday that Pakistani activist Wahid Baloch, who disappeared four months ago, has returned to his home in the southern city of Karachi. “The social activist, writer and small-scale publisher is believed to have been detained by unidentified security officials on 26 July on the outskirts of Karachi. A number of activists from the country’s southwestern Baluchistan province have disappeared in the past few years. Rights groups claim that Pakistan’s security agencies have kidnapped them because of their alleged support for a separatist movement in Baluchistan. 

Report accuses police of killings and enforced disappearances in Kenya

KDR TV in Kenya reported yesterday that the National Police Service has been accused of involvement in the killing and disappearance of tens of people in the Coast in the context of the fight against terrorism. A human rights body has documented more than 80 cases, among them…

Daily World News Digest, 7 December 2016

Migrant crisis: Europol to investigate Egypt mass drowning

BBC News reported yesterday that the European policing agency Europol is planning to investigate what is believed to be the biggest loss of a migrant boat in 2016, following a Reuters-BBC Newsnight investigation. More than 500 people are thought to have died in the sinking on 9 April, but there has been no official inquiry. Newsnight has established that the boat set sail from Egypt – not Libya, as UNHCR stated at the time. The UN estimates that 4,663 people have died this year attempting to cross the Mediterranean, making it the most deadly year on record. But the shipwrecks are frequently not investigated.     

Dozens of Rohingya Muslims missing as boat sinks off Bangladesh

The Tehran Times reported yesterday that dozens have been reported missing, feared drowned, after a boat packed with Rohingya Muslims fleeing violence in Myanmar and trying…

Daily World News Digest, 6 December 2016

Bringing up the bodies in Bosnia

The Guardian publishes a report today on the process of finding and identifying those who are still missing from the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina. It describes in detail the role of the International Commission on Missing Persons, and the “diligent purpose” of those who seek to account for the missing, while families “— survivors of the hurricane of violence that blew through this corner of Europe – searched, wondered, feared the worst”.

Prosecutor’s closing arguments in Mladic trial at ICTY

Voice of America reported yesterday on the closing arguments for the prosecution in Mladic’s trial, the last major war crimes case at the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY), which is winding down after more than 20 years prosecuting war crimes committed in former Yufgoslavia during the 1990s. Prosecutor Alan Tieger told judges at the Tribunal that rather than the “marginalized…

Daily World News Digest, 5 December 2016

Missing children in Northern Ireland

The Belfast Telegraph reports today that police have investigated nearly 2,700 reports of young people going missing from children’s homes in Northern Ireland in the last year. The shocking total is equivalent to almost eight cases a day and cost the Police Service in Northern Ireland more than £3m. The figures also account for almost a quarter of the 12,189 missing persons cases investigated by officers in the 12 months to April 2016.   

Ireland: families of missing persons plead for more resources  

The Irish Examiner reported on 3 December that the families of two missing women are appealing for more resources for the Serious Crime Review Team (SCRT), a unit of the Irish police that was established in 2007 to work on cases of people who have been missing for extended periods of time. Relatives of Jo Jo Dollard, missing for 21…

Daily World News Digest, 2 December 2016

Counting the dead in Aleppo

The Washington Post carried an article yesterday on burying the dead in Aleppo. “It’s too dangerous to bury east Aleppo’s dead in the daylight. So when night falls, an imam slips out to the latest mass grave, conducting the briskest of rites and thanking God that the skies have stayed silent. With President Bashar al-Assad’s warplanes circling and ground troops closing in, Aleppo’s rebel-run districts are in such chaos this week that no one can count the dead. Last week, the opposition-run health directorate put the death toll at 508. While a local morgue records what details it can, the knock-on effects of a government siege mean many deaths go unrecorded.”                                  

Colombia: Peace agreement must open the door to justice

Amnesty International published an article yesterday on the ratification by Colombia’s Congress of a revised version of the peace agreement between the Colombian government and…

Daily World News Digest, 1 December 2016

Mass graves uncovered in Iraq

The New York Times carried a story yesterday about the long legacy of mass graves in Iraq, stretching back further than the Islamic State to the time of Saddam Hussein. “The International Commission on Missing Persons, a Netherlands-based organization, has estimated that up to a million Iraqis have gone missing in recent history.” That encompasses the war between Iran and Iraq, the mass killings ordered by Mr. Hussein after a Shiite uprising in 1991, the Iraqi government’s Anfal chemical-weapon strikes against the Kurds in the late 1980s, and the more recent sectarian civil war of the last decade. ICMP notes on its website that there are “millions of relatives of the missing in Iraq who struggle with the uncertainty surrounding the fate of a loved one.”

Rwanda probes possible role of French officials in genocide 

Reuters published an article yesterday about an inquiry launched in…

Daily World News Digest, 30 November 2016

Migrant boat traffic from Libya to Europe is surging and turning deadlier

The Washington Post reports today that the number of migrants heading to Italy from Libya in leaky boats and inflatable dinghies has broken an annual arrivals record, according to Italian authorities. The number of boat migrants reaching Italy from North Africa this year surpassed 171,000, topping the previous record of 170,100, set in 2014, the Italian Interior Ministry said Monday. But 2016 is also the most lethal year for those trying to cross the Mediterranean to Europe. So far, 4,690 people have died en route, compared with 3,771 deaths for all of last year, according to the U.N. refugee agency.        

Mexican archdiocese closes missing persons registry

The Catholic News Agency, from the US, published an article yesterday about the Archbishop of Guadalajara in Mexico announcing that his diocese is calling off its distribution of a list of…