Albania’s search for hundreds of mass graves
Albania’s government is in consultation with the International Commission on Missing Persons about the possibility of locating mass graves and identifying victims of enforced disappearance from the Communist era. Between 1945 and 1991, an estimated 200,000 people passed through labor camps in Albania, and more than 6,000 went missing. http://bbc.in/2A548pH
Protecting the right to security in The Philippines
The Philippine Star has published an opinion piece examining the case of two young men, Manny and Raffy, who were abducted and tortured by soldiers in a village in Luzon. They escaped after eighteen months. Even though they are now physically free, the piece notes, “the people who have abducted and detained them are still at large and have not been accountable in any way. They are directly connected with the armed forces and are thus in a position to threaten Manny and Raffy’s rights to…
Call for missing persons issue to be on agenda of Syrian peace talks
The Syrian Network for Human Rights (SNHR) has called for the issue of detainees and missing persons to be on the agenda of upcoming Geneva and Astana peace talks. The SNHR notes that past talks have not resulted in the release of any detainees. It points out that the first UN Security Council Resolutions to address Syria were 2041 and 2042 in April 2012, and both highlighted the political arrest and enforced-disappearance issue, while Resolution 2139 of February 2014 called for the immediate cease of enforced-disappearance practices, strongly condemning it, the same as paragraph 12 of Resolution 2254 in December 2015. However, none of these resolutions has been effective. http://bit.ly/2z08l0o
A mass grave uncovered near Benghazi in Libya.
A mass grave with at least 36 bodies has been uncovered near Benghazi in Libya. The victims appear to have…
Pakistan: enforced disappearances in Sindh Province
Data collected by the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan states that 110 nationalist activists as well as human rights defenders in Sindh Province disappeared in the first eight months of 2017. In 2016, the number of such disappearances was six. Sindh Human Rights Defenders (SHRD), a volunteer organization campaigning for the recovery of the disappeared, puts the number of people who have gone missing in the province this year at 123 — only nine of whom have returned home. Though such incidents have been taking place for years, their frequency has increased dramatically in the last few months, according to the SHRD. http://bit.ly/2zQcKQ7
Police in Malaysia “too slow” in responding to disappearance
The former inspector-general of police in Malaysia, Khalid Abu Bakar, has admitted that police were slow and should have acted more quickly in investigating the disappearance of Pastor Raymond Koh. Khalid was questioned…
India mulls legislation on DNA identification
The Law Commission of India has submitted recommendations to a parliamentary body reviewing proposed legislation and establish standard procedures for DNA testing in India. Recommendations include setting up a DNA profiling board and a DNA databank. The profiling board would lay down procedures and standards for establishing DNA laboratories. It would also frame guidelines for training police. The databank would store DNA profiles and maintain indices including a crime scene index, a suspects index, an offenders index, a missing persons index and an unknown deceased persons index. http://bit.ly/2zTMo0j
Enforced disappearances in Pakistan
Pakistan Senate’s Standing Committee on Human Rights has expressed severe concerns about the situation regarding missing persons. Senator Nasreen Jalil, chairing a meeting of the committee, said “another list of 131 missing persons has surfaced”. Meanwhile, the Supreme Court has called for a detailed report on all missing persons detained at all government…
Erbil, 25 October 2017: The Iraq Program of the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) organized a workshop today for civil society organizations that are working with ICMP to address the issue of missing persons in Iraq.
The workshop was held in Erbil and included participating organizations from Federal Iraq and the Kurdistan Region. The objective of the one-day event was to strengthen a network of civil society organizations to share information and work on missing persons campaigns and advocacy.
“We hope to grow this partnership and strengthen the ties among organizations concerned with the rights of families,” said Lena Larsson, the Head of ICMP’s Iraq Program. “We hope that after today, each of us will be able to leave with renewed energy to work for truth and justice for the many missing in Iraq.”
As many as one million people may have gone missing in Iraq as a result of political…
ICMP addresses issue of missing persons in Albania
In an interview with the BBC, Matthew Holiday if the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) explains the importance of accounting for the missing in Albania, a country in which as many as 6,000 people went missing during 40 years of Communism. http://bbc.in/2zOdtlL
Pakistan: initiative to tackle enforced disappearances
A group of civil society organizations have presented recommendations to the Chief of Police in Pakistan’s Sindh Province. The recommendations titled the “Citizens’ Charter for Police Reforms” follow a ruling by the Sindh High Court, which empowered the inspector general of police to implement wide-ranging reforms. Among other things, the civil society organizations have called for the activation of the Sindh police’s human rights cell, which, they said, should issue monthly reports focusing on incidents of extrajudicial killing and enforced disappearances. http://bit.ly/2hbf1yl
Philippines President dismisses allegations of extrajudicial killings
Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte has again…
ICMP opens HQ and Lab in The Hague
The International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) on Tuesday opened a state-of-the-art DNA laboratory at its new headquarters in The Hague. Over the course of two decades, ICMP has responded to a wide variety of complex missing persons scenarios in over 40 countries. With the new laboratory, ICMP aspires to maintain a capacity of up to 10,000 cases a year. http://reut.rs/2ix1Efz
Bodies found in Syria town held by Da’esh
The Syrian Observatory of Human Rights (SOHR) reports that 128 bodies have been found in the town of Qaryatayn, after Syrian regime forces recaptured areas of Homs province from Da’esh fighters. Over a period of 20 days, Da’esh executed at least 116 civilians, accusing them of collaboration with regime forces, according to the SOHR. http://bit.ly/2yMXFRI
New mass grave near Mosul
Iraqi troops have found a mass grave south of Mosul containing the remains of 170…
The Hague: 24 October 2017: The International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) is at the forefront of a global effort to address the issue of missing persons, ICMP Director-General Kathryne Bomberger said today at the opening of a state-of-the-art DNA laboratory at ICMP’s new Headquarters in The Hague.
ICMP’s laboratory system focuses exclusively on missing persons identification and utilizes Next Generation Sequencing (NGS), a technique that is expected to deliver an exponential increase in the power of DNA identification.
“Countries must tackle the issue of missing persons in a coordinated and systematic way that respects the rights of families of the missing – and this is what ICMP can help them do,” said Ms. Bomberger. ICMP has forged new relationships with governments and other partners around the world since it assumed the status of a treaty-based intergovernmental organization in 2015, she added.
Former Norwegian Foreign Minister Knut Vollebaek, representing the ICMP Board…
The Hague, 24 October 2017: The International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) today announced the launch of a cutting-edge next-generation sequencing (NGS) workflow created in collaboration with QIAGEN N.V. for ICMP’s missing persons DNA identification laboratory in The Hague, the Netherlands. The solution integrates QIAGEN’s GeneReader NGS System and spans all aspects of the DNA laboratory workflow, from sample extraction through final analysis, thereby creating a unique “sample to insight” user experience. The workflow includes automated QIAGEN instruments and consumables for DNA extraction, liquid handling, quantification, sample preparation and next generation, Massively Parallel Sequencing (MPS).
“QIAGEN’s support for ICMP is…
UN: Sri Lanka must step up progress on transitional justice
The Government of Sri Lanka has not made sufficient progress in fulfilling its commitments on transitional justice and related reform processes, Pablo de Greiff, a UN Special Rapporteur on the promotion of truth, justice, reparation and guarantees of non-recurrence, has concluded after an official visit to the country. De Greiff said delays are fueling further politicization of discussion on transitional justice. However, he also acknowledged government progress in areas including constitutional reform, creating an Office of Missing Persons and a consultations task force, opening up space for public debate on transitional justice, the release of some land, and initial efforts to strengthen the judiciary. http://bit.ly/2h5vpka
EU warns of culture of impunity in the Philippines
According to the EU’s report on Human Rights and Democracy in the World in 2016 the Philippines administration has not resolved the issue of impunity. The…