Yearly Archives: 2018

Daily World News Digest, 23 February 2018

Syria: mass graves in besieged Ghouta

With limited time and space, and casualties spiraling, victims of shelling in the eastern Ghouta region outside Damascus, which is under siege by regime forces, are being rushed into mass graves — a layer of bodies placed between a latticework of cinderblocks, a sheet of plywood placed on top, and another layer added. The UN estimates there are close to 400,000 people trapped inside the siege lines.

Egypt: “making people disappear”

The BBC has published a series of first-hand accounts of enforced disappearance in Egypt. It reports that the Egyptian Commission for Rights and Freedoms has documented at least 1,500 enforced disappearances in the past four years, though the real figure may be much higher. It quotes campaigner Mohamed Lotfy: “making people disappear is a hallmark of the regime of President Abdul Fattah al-Sisi”. Campaigners say most of the disappeared are tortured before reappearing…

ICMP Welcomes Key Step Forward In Colombia’s Missing Persons Process

The Hague, 22 February 2018: The International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) joins other organizations and governments working to support the Comprehensive System of Truth, Justice, Reparation and Non-Repetition (SIVJRNR) in Colombia in welcoming the formal swearing-in on Wednesday of Judge Luz Marina Monzón as the first Director of the Search Unit for Missing Persons.

“Almost 85,900 missing persons cases have to be resolved in Colombia,” ICMP Director-General Kathryne Bomberger said today. “The Search Unit has been established to address this issue in an effective way, as required by the Final Peace Agreement, and its success will have a significant bearing on the success of the peace process as a whole. Judge Luz Marina Monzón’s swearing-in is a key step forward, and ICMP will work closely with the new Director to support the work of the Unit.”

The issue of missing persons was a central part of the negotiations between the…

Daily World News Digest, 22 February 2018

Around half of kidnapped Yezidis still missing

The International Crisis Group on Tuesday urged the authorities in Iraq to stabilize the Sinjar region in order to help the Yezidi minority, who have been brutalized at the hands of Da’esh. Around 100,000 Yezidis have fled the country while 360,000 have been displaced and live in Iraqi Kurdistan or across the border in Syria. Kurdish Iraqi officials in December 2017 said around half of the Yezidis kidnapped by Da’esh are still missing and that 47 mass graves containing the remains of Yezidis have been found since 2014.

Ex-President of Bolivia to stand trial in US for rights abuses

A federal judge in Florida has ruled that former Bolivian President Gonzalo Sánchez de Lozada and his former defense minister, Jose Carlos Sanchez Berzain, must stand trial in the US in relation to the extrajudicial killing of at least 50 citizens by the Bolivian…

ICMP Helps to Identify Victims Of 1970s Military Regime in Brazil

The Hague, 20 February 2018: The Perus Working Group (PWG), which was established in 2014 to identify bodies that were interred in a clandestine mass grave in Sao Paulo, Brazil, has announced the first identification of a victim buried at the cemetery: Dimas Antonio Casemiro, who was killed by agents of the military regime in April 1971.

The remains of opponents of the military government were buried at the cemetery without identification between 1971 and 1975.

The identification of the body of Dimas Antonio Casemiro was confirmed following analysis of biological samples sent from Brazil to ICMP’s laboratory system.

The DNA Match Report was brought to Sao Paulo by the Director of ICMP’s Science & Technology Program, Dr. Thomas Parsons.

“This was an extremely complex undertaking,” said Dr. Samuel Ferreira, the Scientific Coordinator of Brazil’s Special Commission on Political Deaths and Disappearances, who is also…

Daily World News Digest, 21 February 2018

ICMP helps to identify victims of 1970s military regime in Brazil

The Perus Working Group established in 2014 to identify bodies that were interred during the 1970s in a clandestine mass grave in Sao Paulo, Brazil, has announced the first identification of a victim buried at the cemetery: Dimas Antonio Casemiro, who was killed by agents of the military regime in April 1971. The identification of the body of Dimas Antonio Casemiro was confirmed following analysis of biological samples sent from Brazil to ICMP’s laboratory system. (Article in Portuguese)

El Salvador: military to investigate enforced disappearances

The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) has welcomed two decisions by the Constitutional Chamber of the Supreme Court of El Salvador, handed down in September and December last year, ordering the Ministry of National Defense and the Chief of Staff to carry out an internal investigation and produce information on military operations…

Daily World News Digest, 20 February 2018

Myanmar government is “bulldozing Rohingya mass grave to hide evidence”

The government of Myanmar is bulldozing over the site of a Rohingya mass grave in an effort to destroy evidence of a massacre committed last year by the military, according to a rights monitoring group. Chris Lewa, director of the Arakan Project, said the bulldozing appears to be part of an effort to hide evidence of the grave permanently following exposés that appeared in the press. “Two of the mass graves sites we know about have appeared in the media, but on Thursday one of the other mass grave sites was bulldozed. This means that evidence of the killings is being destroyed.“

Governments switch from outright murder to enforced disappearance

Fear of scrutiny has prompted governments to switch from brazenly killing their opponents to forcing them to disappear. As of September 2017, the UN Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary…

Daily World News Digest, 19 February 2018

Malaysia: lawyer calls for enforced disappearance inquiry to continue

The lawyer representing the family of Raymond Koh, a Christian clergyman who was abducted near Kuala Lumpur on 13 February 2017, said on Saturday that the public inquiry by the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam) into the abduction should not have been suspended after police charged a suspect whom they had previously ruled out as the culprit. Gurdial Singh Nijar insisted that the police case against the suspect “has nothing to do with whether the state was complicit or not” in Koh’s disappearance. “. . . the crux of the inquiry is the term ‘enforced disappearance’. If so, who is responsible for the disappearance?  Did the higher-ups know about it? And how high does it reach?”

Enforced disappearance in Uganda

The Daily Monitor from Uganda published an editorial on Sunday urging the government to address the issue of enforced disappearance,…

Daily World News Digest, 16 February 2018

Libya: armed groups in Misrata accused of enforced disappearance

Armed groups and civilian authorities in the Libyan coastal city of Misrata are preventing thousands of people from the town of Tawergha from returning to their homes after seven years of forced displacement, according to Human Rights Watch. Since 2011, armed groups from Misrata have been responsible for a range of abuses against Tawerghans, including shooting at camps of displaced Tawerghans, arbitrary detention, enforced disappearance, and torture.

Rights groups warn about extrajudicial killings in the Philippines

Rights groups have condemned Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte’s offer of a bounty of $500 for “killing communist rebels” as a “cheaper option” than launching a full-fledged war. President Duterte’s war on drugs has led to a spike in extrajudicial killings.

Extrajudicial killings in Pakistan

A cloth merchant in Karachi has claimed that police officers in civilian clothes picked up his two brothers from their residence…

Daily World News Digest, 15 February 2018

“Massive data gap” in refugee protection

UNICEF, UNHCR, IOM, Eurostat and the OECD have issued a call to action to tackle “gaps in data covering refugees, asylum seekers, migrants and internally displaced populations that are endangering the lives and wellbeing of millions of children on the move”. In 2016, more than 12 million children around the world were living as refugees or asylum seekers and there is recorded information on age for just 56 percent of the refugee population under UNHCR’s mandate. The need for better data collection and analysis is highlighted in the intergovernmental Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration and the Global Compact on Refugees currently being developed.

Libya: 23 killed as truck carrying migrants overturns

At least 23 people were killed and 124 injured when a truck carrying around 300 refugees and migrants, mostly from Eritrea and Somalia, overturned in northwestern Libya, according to local…

Daily World News Digest, 14 February 2018

ICMP: new laboratory in The Hague to resume processing cases from Western Balkans

The International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP), which has completed the transition of its DNA laboratory to The Hague will start profiling cases from the Western Balkans next month, when the new laboratory system is fully functional. Last year, five mass graves were discovered in Bosnia and Herzegovina. A spokesperson for the Missing Persons Institute said exhumations will probably begin again in late March, weather permitting.

Nepal: call for reforms in transitional justice

The one-year extensions of Nepal’s two transitional justice mechanisms without necessary legal and institutional reforms ordered by the Supreme Court and recommended by the UN are insufficient to comply with international standards, Amnesty International, the International Commission of Jurists, and Human Rights Watch said in a statement issued on Tuesday. The three organizations warned that simply extending the terms of the Truth and Reconciliation…