Yearly Archives: 2017

Daily World News Digest, 6 December 2017

Migrant deaths are “vastly under-reported”

The majority of migrant deaths are unrecorded, according to a new report which calls for “significant improvements” to be made in order to capture the true number of deaths which occur during migration worldwide. The report, the second part of “Fatal Journeys Volume 3: Improving data on missing migrants from the International Organization for Migration, follows a series of deadly incidents, including in the Mediterranean and at the border of Bangladesh from neighbouring Myanmar. More than 500,000 people have fled their homes in Myanmar, with thousands attempting to reach Bangladesh by boat across the Andaman Sea.The Mediterranean crossings, which have claimed the lives of 15,000 migrants since the crisis hit the headlines in October 2013, are just one example of the many migration routes that see numerous fatalities each year.

Zeid urges Mexico not to pass proposed internal security law

Proposed legislation in Mexico that…

Daily World News Digest, 5 December 2017

States failing to prevent killings and disappearances

States around the world are failing in their duty to effectively protect people who defend human rights, leading to an escalation in preventable killings and enforced disappearances, according to a new report by Amnesty International, Deadly but Preventable Attacks: Killings and Enforced Disappearances of Those Who Defend Human Rights. The report includes testimonies from friends, relatives and colleagues of human rights defenders, including environmentalists, LGBTIQ and women’s rights activists, journalists and lawyers, who have been killed or disappeared. Many described how victims’ pleas for protection had been repeatedly ignored by the authorities and how the attackers had evaded justice, fuelling a deadly cycle of impunity.

Pakistan: Supreme Court orders security agencies to report on missing persons

Pakistan’s Commission of Inquiry on Enforced Disappearances has told the Supreme Court that it is still investigating 1,498 cases of missing persons. It says the highest number…

Daily World News Digest, 4 December 2017

Half of Yezidis abducted by Da’esh still in captivity

Nearly half of Yezidis abducted by Da’esh in August 2014 from Sinjar and its surrounding areas are still being held captive or their fates remain unknown, according to the latest data released by the Kurdish Ministry of Religious Affairs. From 3 August 2014 until 1 December 2017, only 3,207 of 6,417 captured Yezidis have been rescued or have escaped, the Ministry said.

Sinjar: new mass grave found

A mass grave has been in northern Sinjar containing 46 bodies. Sinjar Mayor Mahma Khalil said the grave contains Yezidis from Sinjar and the surrounding areas, killed by the Da’esh after the fall of Sinjar in 2014. Thirty-eight mass graves of Yezidi victims have been discovered so far, Mahma Kalil said. He was critical of the Iraqi central government for wat he described as its failure to carry out proper documenting procedures at mass…

Daily World News Digest, 1 December 2017

Resolution of more missing persons cases in Bosnia

The Head of the International Commission on Missing Persons’ (ICMP) Western Balkans Program, Matthew Holliday, has announced that a review of human remains in 12 mortuaries in Bosnia and Herzegovina has led to 115 new identifications.

Colombia: Senate approves Special Jurisdiction for Peace

Colombia’s Senate has approved the bill regulating the Special Jurisdiction for Peace, or JEP, a post-conflict transitional justice system that is considered the backbone of the peace agreement. The bill presents an alternative judicial process for former guerrilla militants.

Renewed interest in Zimbabwe disappearances from the 1980s

Following his swearing-in as President of Zimbabwe, considerable interest has focused on Emmerson Mnangagwa’s role in the “Gukurahundi” campaign against dissidents in 1983, when Mnangagwa was the head of State Security. In early 1983 in Matabeleland, in western Zimbabwe, the campaign left tens of thousands dead. Extensive research published by the Catholic…

ICMP mourns the death of Commissioner Surin Pitsuwan

The Hague, 1 December: The Commissioners and staff of the International Commission on Missing Persons are saddened by the sudden death of Surin Pitsuwan, who has been an ICMP Commissioner since June 2016.

ICMP extends its sincere condolences to Surin’s family and to his many friends and colleagues around the world.

“In the short period in which Surin was a Commissioner he had made a deep and positive impact and he will be genuinely missed,” ICMP Director-General Kathryne Bomberger said today.

“Surin was invited to become an ICMP Commissioner because of his unparalleled knowledge of a region where the issue of missing persons is emerging as one of the key contemporary challenges,” Bomberger added. “He was effective and resourceful and quickly identified strategies that had the greatest likelihood of enabling ICMP to contribute to the effort to address the issue of missing persons in Asia.”


Review of Mortuaries in Bosnia and Herzegovina Sheds Light on Possible New Identifications

Sarajevo, 30 November: A clearer strategy on how to account for many of the 8,000 persons who are still missing from the conflict in Bosnia and Herzegovina is now apparent, following a four-year effort spearheaded by the Prosecutor’s Office of Bosnia and Herzegovina in cooperation with the Missing Persons Institute (MPI) and assisted by the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP).

The preliminary results of a Working Group that was set up in 2013 to review cases of unidentified remains in the country’s 12 mortuaries – the NN (No Name) Working Group – were announced today by MPI Chair Marko Jurisic and Head of ICMP’s Western Balkans Program Matthew Holliday.

In 1995, more than 30,000 people were missing as a result of the conflicts. ICMP was established in 1996 to help the authorities account for these people. The process was slow and uncertain…

Daily World News Digest, 30 November 2017

Argentine court sentences 29 to life for dictatorship crimes

Argentina has sentenced 29 people, some with nicknames such as “Blond Angel of Death” and “The Tiger”, to life in prison at a trial involving some 800 cases of kidnapping, torture and murder during the 1976-1983 dictatorship. Hundreds of people gathered outside the federal courthouse in Buenos Aires listening to the convictions, which took more than three hours to read. 

First convictions for Argentinian “death flights”

Two former Argentinian military pilots have been given life sentences for their part in the death of a close friend of Pope Francis, who was hurled to her death from an aircraft during the country’s 1976-83 dictatorship. The ruling on Wednesday marked the first Argentinian judgement against participants in the so-called “death flights”, in which opponents of Argentina’s military regime were thrown into the freezing waters of the South Atlantic in an attempt to hide…

Daily World News Digest, 29 November 2017

Colombia’s congress approves bill on alternative courts

Colombia’s lower house has approved a bill to regulate transitional justice under the 2016 peace deal, including special tribunals that will try FARC leaders for war crimes. The lower house made changes to the text agreed this month by the Senate, so the bill must now go for conciliation between the two chambers. The FARC has argued against any changes to the original agreement.

Skeletons found on ‘ghost ship’ washed up in Japan

Japanese authorities are trying to identify eight people whose badly decomposed remains were found on a wooden boat that washed up on a beach. Crew-less boats or vessels with bodies on board, known as “ghost ships” and thought to be North Korean fishing boats, regularly wash up in Japan.

Disappearance of Crimean Tatars

More than a dozen men have disappeared without a trace during Russia’s annexation of Crimea, according…

Daily World News Digest, 28 November 2017

Fighting Impunity, Seeking Justice in Guatemala

Members of Guatemala’s Congress have introduced a proposal to give blanket amnesty to members of the military accused of committing war crimes during Guatemala’s 36-year-long internal armed conflict. This comes as the Guatemalan Attorney General’s office continues to pursue cases against former military leaders for crimes against humanity. The amnesty proposal seeks to reform the National Reconciliation law passed just prior to the signing of the Peace Accords in 1996. The civil war in Guatemala led to more than 200,000 deaths and the disappearance of more than 40,000, according to findings by the UN backed Commission for Historical Clarification (CEH). Families affected by these campaigns of forced disappearance and killings during the war have strongly denounced efforts to reform the law.

Footage of extrajudicial killings in Philippines drug war

Security camera footage casts doubt on official accounts of police killings in the Philippines war…

Daily World News Digest, 27 November 2017

Extrajudicial killings after liberation of Mosul

The Guardian tells the story of the final days of the battle for Mosul, and a new wave of savagery that was unleashed at its conclusion. According to the testimony of Iraqi soldiers, extrajudicial killings were commonplace.

New mass grave of Yezidi victims found in Iraq

A mass grave containing remains of 98 Yezidi victims has been found in Nineveh province in northern Iraq. Brig. Gen. Mohamed al-Shemari, of the Iraqi army said troops discovered the mass grave in the town of Baaj, west of Mosul. Tens of victims, executed by Dae’sh members, have been found there, he said.

Journalists being “disappeared” in Myanmar

Reporters working in Myanmar’s Rakhine state to document atrocities against Rohingya have gone missing, raising fears that they have been deliberately targeted by the military. Young Rohingya volunteers had been secretly reporting in Myanmar since 2012. Human rights groups claim…