Monthly Archives: May 2017

Daily World News Digest, 17 May 2017

Pakistan: 2016 with the highest number of enforced disappearances

The News, from Pakistan, reported on Wednesday, that according to the Pakistan Human Right Commission’s (HRC) annual State of Human Rights report, 2016 saw a record number of enforced disappearances in the country, with 728 people added to the official list of the disappeared. Three human rights activists were killed during the year while a number of others continued to receive threats from state and non-state actors. The HRC report follows a recent UN report that criticized the widespread practice of torture by law enforcement agencies in Pakistan.

Colombia: victims call for records of military human rights abuses

On Tuesday Telesur reported that a group of lawyers in Colombia has called on the Constitutional Court to declassify military intelligence files in order to increase transparency in the process of reparations for victims as part of the historic peace deal signed between…

Daily World News Digest, 16 May 2017

Philippine lawmakers reject impeachment of President Duterte

The Daily Mail reported on Monday that Philippine lawmakers have rejected impeachment proceedings against President Rodrigo Duterte. A formal complaint put forward by a parliamentary representative accused the president of a crime against humanity over the deaths of thousands of people killed in his war on drugs. The complaint alleged that Duterte has adopted a state policy of extrajudicial killings that has led to more than 8,000 deaths in the first eight months of his term.

Mass grave of Da’esh fighters found near Mosul

Iraqi News reported on Monday that Iraqi troops have found a mass grave containing what are believed to be the relics of 20 Da’esh fighters in a district retaken by Iraqi security forces in western Mosul. The bodies have been removed for forensic tests.

Amnesty International: human rights defenders under threat

Relief Web carries a story today on a…

Daily World News Digest, 15 May 2017

Refugees in Serbia “sprayed with insecticide” before eviction

On Friday, the Independent reported that Serbian authorities have evicted some 1,200 refugees from a makeshift camp in central Belgrade, leaving several hundred unaccounted for, including unaccompanied children. The article features video footage showing what looks like an official in protective workwear and face mask spraying what volunteers in the Serbian capital said was toxic insecticide within the barracks while refugees and their belongings were still inside. Many of the refugees were taken on buses to a series of government-run camps across the country. But as many as 400 were no longer accounted for at the time of writing the article.

Mediterranean: 484 migrants and refugees saved, seven found dead

Reuters reported on Sunday that rescuers saved 484 migrants from boats in the Mediterranean on Saturday and found the bodies of seven men who had died in the attempt to get…

Daily World News Digest, 12 May 2017

Three mass graves found in western Iraq

AFP reported on Thursday that three mass graves have been discovered in Iraq’s western province of Anbar containing the bodies of civilians and members of the security forces. It is still unknown how many bodies are in the three sites in the Saqlawiyah region, north of Fallujah, in the Karma area, east of Fallujah, and behind the old central library in central Ramadi, the province’s capital. Security forces are deployed to protect the site and forensic teams from Baghdad are expected in the coming days.

Kurdistan seeks international help to uncover Da’esh mass graves

Rudaw reported on Thursday that the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) has stepped up its investigations into alleged Da’esh mass graves. The article says the government is seeking expert support from international organizations. The Ministry of Martyrs and Anfal Affairs says at least two international groups have so far offered…

Daily World News Digest, 11 May 2017

First study on Ezidi genocide

The Daily Sabah reported on Thursday that at least 9,900 of Iraq’s Ezidi community were killed or kidnapped in just days in a Da’esh attack in 2014, citing a report published in the Public Library of Science journal PLoS Medicine. According to the first study to document the number of Ezidi casualties, which could be used as evidence in any trial for genocide, about 3,100 Ezidis were killed and about 6,800 kidnapped to become sex slaves or fighters. Legal experts have said gathering evidence of the attacks is crucial since members of Da’esh could go on trial for genocide in the future.

Italy refused to help Syrian refugees

On Wednesday, Newsweek carried a story about new audio tapes that suggest that Italian authorities allowed hundreds of Syrian refugees to drown in 2013 despite being told their boat was in danger. The recordings reveal that…

Daily World News Digest, 10 May 2017

Enforced disappearance among Palestinians in Syria

Middle East Monitor carried a story on Tuesday about a report by a group called the Task Group for Palestinian Refugees in Syria, which has documented 1,600 cases of enforced disappearance among Palestinian refugees in Syrian regime prisons since 2011. “The real number of enforced disappearance cases is much larger as there are no official statistics issued by the Syrian regime and many families are afraid to report that their relatives are missing,” the Group said.

Why do countries disappear their citizens?

The Washington Post on Tuesday featured a story on enforced disappearance, noting that the UN has documented more than 55,000 disappearances in 107 countries since 1980. The article argues that states use disappearances when they cannot “read” the nature of their opposition. With enforced disappearances regimes are trying not only to coerce activists but broadly to demobilize the opposition. Exploring disappearances in…

Daily World News Digest, 9 May 2017

Mexico: legislation to tackle enforced disappearances

The Latin American Working Group published a first-quarter report today on the human rights situation in Mexico. Among other things, it notes that after two years of debate in the Mexican Congress, a General Law on Disappearances recently passed the Senate, is now being debated in the Chamber of Representatives, and could be enacted in the coming weeks. Although there are reservations, “many associations of family members of disappeared persons, and other civil society groups, are urging Mexican lawmakers to move the bill forward as soon as possible,” the report says. “The United Nations Office for Human Rights in Mexico and the national movement of family member collectives highlighted the weakest part of the bill as the design and function of the National Search Commission,” the report adds, noting that the role of the Search Commission is judged to be weak and unclear in…

Daily World News Digest, 8 May 2017

Srebrenica survivor’s eyewitness testimony

On 6 May, the BBC broadcast a documentary on Srebrenica, the town in Bosnia and Herzegovina where Europe’s worst atrocity since the Second World War took place. Some local politicians, and the new mayor, refuse to accept that genocide occurred, despite the findings of international courts and the testimony of survivors. Nedzad Avdic, who survived the massacre of 8,000 men and boys in July 1995, returned ten years ago to live in the town and bring up his family there. He now faces a new struggle for truth.

Nigeria: 82 Chibok schoolgirls freed in exchange for five Boko Haram leaders

The Guardian reported yesterday on the release of 82 kidnapped schoolgirls, who had been held captive for more than three years by the Islamist group Boko Haram in northern Nigeria. The girls were handed over on Saturday in exchange for five militant leaders. “Joy…

Daily World News Digest, 5 May 2017

Path to the US marked by bodies

On Thursday The New York Times featured a story about migrants who die while trying to cross into Texas. The remains of more than 200 unidentified migrants are kept at the border-crossers’ morgue at a Texas State University lab. For years, the article says, the process of examining and burying unidentified migrants was mishandled along the Texas border. Bodies were buried in clusters of up to five and many were buried either without DNA samples being taken or without any samples being submitted to a state DNA database, as required by Texas law.

Greece paying asylum seekers to reject appeals

The EU Observer reported on Wednesday that the Greek government is giving cash incentives to rejected asylum seekers on the islands not to pursue their legal rights to appeal their cases. Around €1,000 and free plane tickets home “are now part of a…

Daily World News Digest, 4 May 2017

Kurdish officials documenting IDPs and missing persons

On Wednesday, Rudaw carried a feature article on the work of Commission of Investigation and Gathering Evidence that was established by the Council of Ministers in the Kurdistan Regional Government in September 2014. The Commission has created files for Yezidi, Christian, Turkmen, Shabak, and Kakai victims of forced displacement, extrajudicial and summary executions, massacre, abductions, detentions, missing persons, all forms of gender-based violence, recruitment of child soldiers, forced religious conversion, forced labor for Da’esh, destruction of cultural and religious and social heritage, all crimes as defined under international humanitarian law. The committee has received support and training from the International Commission on Missing Persons and the Commission for International Justice and Accountability.

Afghanistan: Since 2001, 679 cases of murder and violence against journalists

Ariana News, a television network in Afghanistan, reported on Tuesday that the country’s Attorney General’s Office has registered 679 cases…