Monthly Archives: March 2017

Daily World News Digest, 20 March 2017

Mass graves in central Congo bear witness to growing violence

Reuters reports today from the village of Tshienke in central Congo, where the bodies of rebel fighters were dumped in a mass grave last month following intense clashes between the Congolese army and the Kamuina Nsapu militia, whose insurgency poses the most serious threat to the rule of President Joseph Kabila. The UN says it suspects that Congolese forces killed 84 militia members close to the town of Tshimbulu between 9 and 13 February. Government spokesman Lambert Mende told Reuters that the bodies in the mass graves were those of Kamuina Nsapu fighters and it was the group who had buried them, not the army.

Mexico: investigators unearth 47 more skulls in mass graves

Reuters reported today that investigators have unearthed the skulls of 47 more suspected victims of Mexico’s drug war in Veracruz state. Skulls and remains of multiple…

Daily World News Digest, 17 March 2017

Mexico: mass graves “on an industrial scale” 

CBS News published an article yesterday citing a prosecutor in Mexico who says that the clandestine graves being unearthed in Mexico’s Veracruz state are of such “an industrial scale” that bulldozers had likely been used in creating them, and that they contain so many bodies that officials “aren’t digging in some places because they don’t have space for the remains”. Veracruz State Attorney-General Jorge Winckler said there were already 300 bodies or sets of bones in state forensics facilities. Winckler said trained dogs have detected another site south of the city of Veracruz where there were apparently also clandestine graves. But with morgues filling up, some sites just aren’t being explored.

Myanmar: authorities urged to act on Rakhine Commission report 

Amnesty today called on the authorities in Myanmar to act immediately on the recommendations in an interim report by the Advisory Commission on Rakhine State, to grant…

Daily World News Digest, 16 March 2017

Policies to care for refugee children aren’t “pull factors”

Devex, the aid worker web portal, yesterday covered the testimony given by Lord Alf Dubs, the peer behind Section 67 of the U.K. Immigration Act 2016, and aid experts yesterday before the UK Parliamentary International Development Committee. Lord Dubs stressed that policies protecting unaccompanied refugee children do not encourage irregular migration to the UK. This comes after the Home Office issued a statement on 8 February saying it would close the Dubs scheme, which required the UK Home Office to resettle unaccompanied refugee children from elsewhere in Europe based on the capacity of local councils to receive them. It was closed after resettling just 350 children, citing concerns that it acted as a “pull factor,” encouraging young people to make the dangerous journey to Europe.

NGOs reveal new deadly migrant route to Europe

 The Daily Express UK reported yesterday that migrants are leaving Sudan, heading…

Daily World News Digest, 15 March 2017

Mexico: more than 250 skulls found in Veracruz mass graves

Aljazeera reported today that the senior prosecutor in the Mexican state of Veracruz has confirmed that more than 250 skulls have been dug up in what appears to be a drug cartel mass burial ground on the outskirts of the city of Veracruz. Victims’ advocacy groups such as Colectivo Solecito have excavated and pressed authorities to excavate such sites to find missing loved ones. When activists find what they believe are burial pits, they alert authorities, who carry out the final excavations. Many more people are thought to be buried at the Veracruz site.

Decapitated bodies found in mass grave at Venezuelan prison

United Press International reported yesterday that 14 bodies have been found in a mass grave inside Venezuela’s largest prison. The mass grave was first discovered on Thursday during work to refurbish the General Penitentiary of Venezuela. The…

Daily World News Digest, 14 March 2017

Thailand urged to ratify Convention against Enforced Disappearance 

Human Rights Watch published an article yesterday calling on the Thai government to take final steps to ratify the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance. It said the government should also end delays in passing implementing legislation to criminalize torture and disappearances. On 10 March, the military-appointed National Legislative Assembly unanimously approved ratification of the Convention, which Thailand signed in 2012. However, the government has not yet set a clear timeframe for depositing the treaty with the UN Secretary-General as required, or for reconsidering and enacting the Prevention and Suppression of Torture and Enforced Disappearance Bill, which the assembly rejected in late February.

Call for “international and independent” defense of human rights in Sri Lanka 

The Wire, a news portal from India, published an interview on Sunday with Yasmin Sooka, the executive director of the Foundation for…

Daily World News Digest, 13 March 2017

Iraq: “remains of prisoners” found at mass grave near Mosul 

The BBC reported yesterday that more evidence has been discovered of a reported massacre in 2014 of up to 600 inmates at Badoush prison near Mosul, according to Iraqi forces. The Shia-led Hashd al-Shaabi forces said human remains had been found at the site “with prison uniforms”. Da’esh is alleged to have killed hundreds of inmates, most of them Shia Muslims, when it seized Mosul in 2014. Badoush prison was recaptured earlier this week. A spokesman for Hashd al-Shaabi said the bodies had been “lined up in a way that indicates they were shot dead in groups”.

Why are girls disappearing all over Canada?

The BBC carried a story on 10 March on the missing persons crisis among indigenous women in Canada. In 2015, the Canadian police released a report which concluded that First Nations women are four times more likely to go missing…

Daily World News Digest, 10 March 2017

Romania: prison warden faces trial for 102 deaths 

Balkan Insight reported yesterday that Romanian criminal prosecutors at the Supreme Court on Thursday indicted a former communist-era warden at the Galati prison under whose watch 102 detainees – 90 of them political prisoners – were killed and buried in mass graves in the eastern Danube port of Galati between 1959 and 1961. After their deaths, the families were never notified and they were buried in anonymous graves in the prison yard. Their remains were never identified. 

Enforced disappearances documented in Egypt 

The World Weekly published an article yesterday on the human rights situation in Egypt since the Arab Spring. In its annual review, Human Rights Watch said President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi’s government “is consolidating and escalating repression. Absent strong responses from the international community, authorities will continue to squeeze the space for exercising basic freedoms into nothing.” Between August 2015 and…

Daily World News Digest, 9 March 2017

Three mass graves discovered in central Congo

Reuters reported yesterday on the discovery of three mass graves in central Democratic Republic of Congo, where hundreds have been killed since July in clashes between security forces and a local militia. At least 400 people have died and 200,000 have been displaced since the fighting broke out with the Kamuina Nsapu militia. UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein urged the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva to set up an inquiry “in light of recurrent reports of grave violations and the recent discovery of three more mass graves”. Congo’s government has said it is investigating allegations of rights abuses, including a video last month that appeared to show Congolese troops massacring militia members. However, it has dismissed offers of support from the UN rights office in Congo, which it accuses of bias.

Burundi rejects reports of enforced disappearances…

HRH the Prince of Wales Meets Representatives of Families of the Missing from Southeast Europe

The Hague, 8 March 2017: HRH the Prince of Wales invited representatives of families of the missing from Southeast Europe to meet with him at his home today. The meeting, facilitated by the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP), allowed family representatives to brief HRH on the progress that has been made in accounting for those who went missing as a result of the conflicts in former Yugoslavia, and to present the steps that must be taken in order to ensure that efforts to account for those who are still missing continue. Today’s meeting, at Clarence House in London, followed a presentation in Pristina by families of the missing during a tour of the countries of the former Yugoslavia by Their Royal Highnesses the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall in March 2016.

HRH noted that he had been impressed by…

Daily World News Digest, 8 March 2017

Sri Lanka: bill to ratify Convention on Enforced Disappearances presented to parliament 

The Daily Mirror, from Sri Lanka, reports today that the government has presented a bill to ratify and implement the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance. Sri Lanka became a signatory of the Convention on 10 December 2015. The bill was presented to Parliament by the Leader of the House, Lakshman Kiriella, on Wednesday afternoon. It seeks to ensure the right to Justice and reparation for victims of enforced disappearances.

Iraqi families search for closure in Mosul’s mass graves 

The Financial Times reports today that local residents in Mosul are taking it upon themselves to begin excavating mass graves near them, hoping to end the agony of not knowing the fate of missing loved ones. “All of those we’ve lost — we don’t expect them to come back. But we hope at least…