Monthly Archives: July 2017

Daily World News Digest, 31 July 2017

Wife of disappeared Thai activist jailed

AFP reported on 28 July that the wife of a Thai land activist who disappeared in mysterious circumstances has been jailed for trespassing, her lawyer said Friday. Supap Kamlae has campaigned for a full probe into the suspected enforced disappearance of her husband Den, who disappeared in April 2016. Den, then 65, led a decades-long battle to secure land deeds for his community in northeastern Chaiyaphum province. On Thursday the Supreme Court upheld sentences against the couple for encroaching on forest land, ending a long-running case that began before Den’s disappearance. The UN has recorded at least 82 open cases of enforced disappearance in Thailand dating back to the 1980s.

Pakistan activists highlight enforced disappearances

The News, from Pakistan, reported on 29 July that prominent human rights and civil society activists urged the Sindh government on Friday to withdraw policing powers from the paramilitary…

Daily World News Digest, 28 July 2017

UN calls for action on enforced disappearances in Pakistan

Voice of America reports today that the UN Human Rights Committee has urged Pakistan to address human rights failings, including state-sponsored abductions. At a session of the Committee in Geneva on Thursday, concerns were expressed over Pakistan’s renewed use of the death penalty, its blasphemy laws, and enforced disappearances and extrajudicial killings. Enforced disappearances, seen in tribal areas and Baluchistan for the past 15 years, have become widespread across Pakistan, committee member Olivier de Frouville told reporters. “This is an admitted fact, even within the country, that this is carried out by agents of the state,” he said, adding that the government’s own investigations were insufficient.

Thirteen Migrants Found Dead in Rubber Dinghy

The Sun UK reported on 27 July that a rubber dinghy was intercepted 15 miles off the coast of Libya on 25 July by a Spanish rescue group,…

Daily World News Digest, 27 July 2017

Serbian Court Rejects Restart of Srebrenica Trial

Balkan Insight reported on 26 July that a Belgrade court has rejected the war crimes prosecutor’s motion to continue a landmark trial of eight former Serb policemen for the Srebrenica massacres, saying the request was based on charges already dismissed. The Higher Court in Belgrade on Tuesday rejected the motion filed by the war crimes prosecutor, Snezana Stanojkovic, to continue the trial of the eight former policemen charged with committing a massacre of Bosniaks from Srebrenica in the village of Kravica in July 1995.

The court said that the motion was incomplete, since it was based on charges that were thrown out by an appeals court earlier in July. This means that prosecutor Stanojkovic will have to file new charges, which have to be accepted by the court before a new trial is scheduled.                                      

Libya: Militia engage in enforced disappearance

Human Rights Watch reports…

Daily World News Digest, 26 July 2017

A motion filed to restart Srebrenica trial

Balkan Insight reported on 24 July that Serbia’s war crimes prosecutor, Snezana Stanojkovic, filed a motion on Monday to restart a landmark trial of eight former Serb policemen for the Srebrenica massacres after it was halted when an appeals court dismissed the charges because they were not filed by the authorized prosecutor, since the Serbian war crimes prosecutor’s position was vacant at the time. The men are accused of organizing and participating in the shooting of more than 1,300 Bosniak civilians in an agricultural warehouse in the village of Kravica near Srebrenica in July 1995. So far more than 1,300 civilians who were massacred in Kravica have been identified. Their bodies were found in several mass graves in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Enforced disappearance in Mindanao schools

The Interaksyon news portal from the Philippines reports today that lawmakers and Human Rights Watch have…

Daily World News Digest, 25 July 2017

Transitional justice in Nepal

The Kathmandu Post publishes an article today criticizing Nepal’s transitional justice system which, it says, “creates a gap between the mainstream (the state) and the margins (the victims).” The paper argues that The Truth and Reconciliation Committee and the Commission of Investigation on Enforced Disappeared Persons “lack a clear investigation procedure, confidentiality and protection measures for victims and witnesses, and evidence protection methods. They have no strategy to protect the whole process from potential intimidation and influence from perpetrators in powerful positions.”

US-Mexico: smugglers have “absolutely no regard for human life”

The Los Angeles Times reported yesterday that James Matthew Bradley Jr., the driver of a truck in which 10 migrants died on Sunday while trying to cross the US-Mexico border, has been charged with “transporting illegal aliens,” a crime punishable by life imprisonment or death if the crime results in a death. “These human smugglers…

Daily World News Digest, 24 July 2017

Philippines Senator calls for more data on extrajudicial killings

On Monday, Rappler, a news portal from the Philippines, reported that Senator Leila de Lima has asked Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II to present figures on cases of extrajudicial killing (EJK) related to the government’s war on drugs being handled by the Department of Justice (DOJ). “The data of 219 EJKs apparently refers to those cases covered by the mandate of the AO35 Inter-Agency Committee on Extra-Legal Killings, Enforced Disappearances, Torture and Other Grave Violations of the Right to Life, Liberty and Security of Persons,” De Lima said on Monday. De Lima accused Aguirre of instructing his prosecutors not to file drug war-related EJK cases against any law enforcement officer. De Lima has been in government detention since February, charged with a drug-related offence. The European Union and a number of international human rights organizations have questioned the allegations against her…

Daily World News Digest, 21 July 2017

Sri Lanka established Office on Missing Persons

The Colombo Page news portal reported on 20 July that Sri Lanka President Maithripala Sirisena signed the Office of Missing Persons gazette on Thursday establishing the Office on Missing Persons (OMP). Announcing the signing on Twitter the President said “This marks another step forward in Sri Lanka’s path to sustained peace.” Sri Lanka’s parliament passed the Office on Missing Persons Bill in August 2016. The establishment of the OMP was one of the pledges the government made to the UN Human Rights Council. The Act allows the government to establish the OMP to help several thousand families of missing persons across Sri Lanka to discover the fate of their loved ones, and the circumstances under which they went missing.

UN Secretary-General congratulates Sri Lanka on establishing OMP

The UN News Center reported on 20 July that UN Secretary-General António Guterres had congratulated…

Daily World News Digest, 20 July 2017

ICMP works to identify victims worldwide

Swiss Radio Television published an article (in Italian) on Thursday on the efforts of ICMP to identify missing persons and victims of human rights violations. The article reports that ICMP has led an effort that has made it possible to account for more than 70 percent of those who were missing at the end of the conflict in former Yugoslavia and today ICMP works to identify missing persons from global conflicts, such as Iraq, Chile and most recently Syria.

USA opposes seat for DRC at UN Human Rights Council

The Daily Mail reported on Wednesday that US ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley has criticized the decision to put forward the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) as a candidate for the Geneva-based human rights body. The US opposition comes after the uncovering of 80 mass graves in the Kasai region of the…

Daily World News Digest, 19 July 2017

Court delivers verdicts in Thailand human trafficking trial

Aljazeera reported on Wednesday that a court in Thailand is in the process of delivering verdicts in a case involving 103 defendants, in the country’s largest human trafficking trial to date. Among the accused are army generals, police and local politicians. Investigations began in 2015 after shallow graves containing 36 bodies were found in southern Thailand. It is believed that the victims were Rohingya Muslims fleeing persecution in Myanmar through migration to Thailand and eventually Malaysia. It is believed that the victims were held for ransom in jungle camps in Thailand and only released once funds were received from relatives.

UNHCR urges new response to Mediterranean refugee crisis

UNHCR announced on 18 July that it is appealing for US$421 million in funding to provide alternatives to the growing number of refugees making dangerous journeys to Europe across the Sahara Desert…

Daily World News Digest, 18 July 2017

Sri Lanka’s Enforced Disappearances bill

The GroundViews, citizens journalism site today published a note from the Sri Lankan Foreign Affairs Ministry explaining the Enforced Disappearance bill, which is now before parliament, and responding to criticism of the bill.  The objective of the Bill, the Foreign Ministry says, “is to ensure that Enforced Disappearances do not occur. While there can be lawful arrests, persons must be held in lawful detention centers, and their arrest documented. This will prevent torture, abuse and extra judicial killings. Unless one intends to propagate a white van culture, or a culture of illegal abductions and / or killings, there would be no basis to object to the enactment of the Bill.”

UN urges rule of law following liberation of Mosul

The UN News Center on 17 July reported on the Security Council briefing given by the UN Special Representative and Head of Mission in Iraq. Ján…