Monthly Archives: February 2017

Daily World News Digest, 28 February 2017

Libya exposed as “an epicenter for migrant child abuse”

The BBC carries a story today on a Unicef report that says children are suffering from violence and sexual abuse at the hands of smugglers and traffickers, but they rarely report their abuse, for fear of arrest and deportation. Unicef says almost 26,000 children – most of them unaccompanied – crossed the Mediterranean last year. “A Deadly Journey for Children” documents slavery, violence and sexual abuse experienced by huge numbers of vulnerable children making their perilous way to Italy. Libya, as the funnel through which so many journeys pass, has earned itself the shocking reputation as the epicenter of abuse, it says. The report maps 34 known detention centers in Libya, three of them deep in the country’s desert interior. Most are run by the government’s Department for Combating Illegal Migration. But Unicef says that armed groups also hold migrants in…

Daily World News Digest, 27 February 2017

Iraq: largest mass grave discovered

The Daily Telegraph reported on Saturday that after the capture of Mosul in 2014, Da’esh killed and dumped the bodies of thousands of security personnel in the Khasfa sinkhole five miles outside the city. The site is believed to be the biggest mass grave in Iraq and the resting place of an estimated 4,000 bodies. “Daesh would drive the victims to Khasfa in convoys of minibuses, trucks and pick ups. The men had their hands bound and their eyes blindfolded. They were taken to the sinkhole and shot in the back of the head,” said one local resident.  The dead would either tumble into the hole after being shot or be tossed into it by their masked killers, he said.

 Iraq: Mosul evacuees detained

Human Rights Watch reported yesterday that Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) forces are detaining men and boys who have fled the…

Daily World News Digest, 24 February 2017

Activists urge investors to help Myanmar’s Rohingyas 

The Sacramento Bee reported yesterday that activists have urged Unilever, a major investor in Myanmar, to speak out against the country’s treatment of its Rohingya minority, which the UN has said may constitute “crimes against humanity.” “Silence in the face of genocide, whilst doing business, is simply not an option,” said Britain-based campaign organizer Jamila Hanan. Rights groups accuse the Myanmar army of burning homes, mass killings, disappearances, and rape in their sweeping counterinsurgency campaign in Rakhine state, where most of the estimated one million Rohingya live.

Kenya has no database of killings, enforced disappearances

Nairobi News reports today that Kenya has become the leading country in Africa in cases of police shootings and killing of civilians. A total of 122 people were killed in Kenya last year by the police. The reports says the figures would have been higher were it not…

Daily World News Digest, 23 February 2017

Kenya: Security forces accused of responsibility for enforced disappearances

Standard Digital, a news portal from Kenya, published an article today on the conclusions regarding Kenya that appear in Amnesty International’s Annual Report. The Amnesty report says that security forces in the country have been responsible for numerous enforced disappearances, executions and cases of torture in the name of counter-terror operations. It also accuses police in Kenya of using excessive and lethal force to disperse demonstrators, and it accuses state security organs of harassing political opposition, anti-corruption groups, civil society, journalists and bloggers.

Montenegro: threats against journalists continue

SeeNews reported yesterday on the findings in Amnesty International’s Annual Report related to Montenegro, where, Amnesty said, journalists continue to receive threats. It said the authorities had not acted on the recommendations of the UN Committee on Enforced Disappearances to include disappearance as a separate criminal offence in the Criminal Code. The authorities…

Daily World News Digest, 22 February 2017

More migrants drown off Libya

The Independent reported yesterday that more than 70 refugees have died in the latest boat disaster in the Mediterranean as deaths on the crossing between Libya and Italy reach record highs. The Libyan Red Crescent said the bodies of 74 migrants had washed ashore near the city of Zawiyah, which is a hub for smugglers launching boats towards Europe. Joel Millman from the International Organization for Migration (IOM) said the boat’s engine was believed to have been removed at sea, possibly by smugglers or armed gangs. He said the incident could have resulted from the “deliberate punishment or murder of migrants”.

Serbian army chief accused of Kosovo crimes

Balkan Insight reported yesterday that Belgrade’s Humanitarian Law Centre has released a documentary accusing the Chief of Staff of the Serbian Armed Forces, Ljubisa Dikovic, of involvement in war crimes in Kosovo and cover-up operations to hide…

Daily World News Digest, 21 February 2017

UK plans missing persons database

UKAuthority, a news portal for Britain’s public sector, reported yesterday that a new database of missing persons is to be launched as part of a drive to tackle child sexual exploitation. The Home Office has announced plans for a National Missing Persons Register, expected to go live in 2018. It will give police access to information about adults and children who have disappeared wherever they are in the country. Plans for the new database were revealed as Home Secretary Amber Rudd launched a £40 million package of measures to tackle child sexual exploitation.

“Migrant slave trade” booming in Libya

The Guardian published an article yesterday on the Mediterranean migration crisis and what it describes as the accompanying “slave trade”. It notes that every day an average of 14 migrants, the vast majority from countries in sub-Saharan Africa, die crossing the Mediterranean. Many more are victims of “a…

Daily World News Digest, 20 February 2017

Sri Lanka: missing persons commissions criticized

The Hindu published an article yesterday on missing persons in Sri Lanka. According to Amnesty, the Sri Lankan state has received 65,000 complaints of disappearances since 1995. There have been at least six commissions appointed by the government since the 1990s to look into disappearances but none has made a difference to the families, the article says. “In many cases, relatives give very specific details of where the missing person was last seen and even name the suspected perpetrator,” a community worker in Batticaloa told The Hindu recently. However, such details have at best remained in government files, with every panel raising hopes and making families relive the trauma as they recount what happened. 

UN urges governments to endorse Convention on Enforced Disappearances 

Pakistan Today published an article on 18 February about the forthcoming 10th anniversary of the International Convention for the Protection…

Daily World News Digest, 17 February 2017

Call for foreign judges in Sri Lanka in war crimes investigations 

SBS, an Australian online news agency, reports today that Human Rights Watch has urged Sri Lanka to employ foreign judges and prosecutors to ensure justice when bringing to trial those responsible for crimes against humanity during the country’s civil war. A decades-long civil war in Sri Lanka ended with the defeat of Tamil separatists in 2009, prompting an international investigation into alleged crimes against humanity. The investigation found indications of “grave” violations in Sri Lanka between 2002 and 2011. UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein said in 2015: “Our investigation has laid bare the horrific level of violations and abuses that occurred in Sri Lanka, including indiscriminate shelling, extrajudicial killings, enforced disappearances, harrowing accounts of torture and sexual violence, recruitment of children and other grave crimes.” 

Migrants missing off Spain’s Canary Islands 

The Local reported yesterday…

Daily World News Digest, 16 February 2017

Amnesty: hundreds of Rohingya still missing

Amnesty International issued a statement yesterday saying that four months after the launch of major security operations in Myanmar’s northern Rakhine State, the fate and whereabouts of hundreds of detained Rohingya are still unknown. Authorities claim to have arrested and “taken legal action” against hundreds of people since 9 October 2016. Amnesty International considers them as victims of enforced disappearances, who are at risk of torture and other ill-treatment and of being subjected to unfair trials.

Nepal transitional justice mechanisms to continue accepting complaints

The Himalayan Times reports today that transitional justice bodies in Nepal will accept complaints of conflict victims who could not register their cases earlier. Bishnu Pathak, spokesperson for the Commission of Investigation on Enforced Disappeared Persons (CIEDP), said the CIEDP would issue a notice by mid-March, urging all remaining conflict victims to file complaints. The victims will be given a month…

Daily World News Digest, 15 February 2017

Pakistan: Missing persons info to be given within three days

The News International reports today that a Select Committee of Pakistan’s Senate has unanimously adopted the Right to Information (RTI) Bill 2016, which will make it mandatory for relevant state institutions to provide information about missing persons within three days of receiving a request. The proposed law recognizes citizens’ right to know under the Constitution and to have access to information about the activities of the government. One Senator expressed the view that the draft law would greatly help citizens in securing the maximum information and would also go a long away in addressing the issue of missing persons.

Bosnian prosecution seeks more funds for exhumations

Balkan Insight reported yesterday that the prosecution has asked the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina for more money to exhume war graves after only receiving 95,000 euros from the Council of Ministers for 2017….