Monthly Archives: January 2018

Daily World News Digest, 31 January 2018


Cyprus: accounting for the missing “will promote reconciliation”

The UN Security Council has renewed the six-month mandate for the peacekeeping force in Cyprus, Unficyp, urging all sides to renew their political will and commitment to a settlement under UN auspices and noting that the status quo was unsustainable. The Council called for agreement on and implementation of further steps to build trust between the communities, including the opening up of access to all areas to allow the Committee on Missing Persons to carry out its work “trusting that this process will promote reconciliation between the communities”.

Australia: call for a nationwide missing persons lab

An Australian publication examines the advantages of establishing a nationwide laboratory solely dedicated to missing persons casework. Around 38,000 Australians are reported missing each year, around half of whom are young people. A small percentage are never accounted for. Around 2,000 missing persons cases and…

Daily World News Digest, 30 January 2018

Survivors of capsized refugee boat say traffickers fired at passengers

People traffickers fired automatic weapons at refugees to force them to jump into heavy seas off the coast of Yemen, according to survivors of the incident that killed dozens last week. The boat capsized after the shooting prompted panic. The death toll is currently 30, but is expected to rise. The incident was the latest in a series of capsizings in which hundreds – possibly thousands – have died fleeing to Yemen from Somalia, or from Yemen to other nearby countries deemed safer by refugees.

Spain: dozens of children among 329 migrants rescued at sea

Spanish officials say more than 300 people including newborns have been rescued from a wooden fishing boat northeast of the Libyan town of Misrata and taken to an Italian port. The migrants were from various Sub-Saharan African countries and included 95 women, three of them…

Daily World News Digest, 29 January 2018

ICMP and Italy to identify missing migrants

Italy will adopt a pioneering approach to identifying the thousands of victims of shipwrecks in the Mediterranean and along migration routes from Africa and the Middle East, by working with the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP), which has been for the last 20 years a global reference point for accounting for the missing from conflict and natural disasters. ICMP will provide support through its DNA laboratory system, in the first coordinated attempt to respond to the issue of missing migrants. (Text in Italian)

Mass grave of Da’esh victims found in Kirkuk

Iraqi forces say they have found a new mass grave containing victims of Da’esh in the west of Kirkuk province. According to a security force source, the grave contains the remains of citizens executed during the Da’esh occupation of Hawija, the group’s former stronghold.

HRW urges Bangladesh to investigate fate…

Daily World News Digest, 26 January 2018

Pakistan: “institutions have failed on enforced disappearances’

Pakistan Peoples Party Senator Farhatullah Babar addressing the National Commission for Human Rights said that Parliament, the Supreme Court, the National Commission for Human Rights and other institutions have failed to address the issue of enforced disappearances. According to the Inquiry Commission on Enforced Disappearances, a total of 4,516 cases of alleged enforced disappearances have been recorded till 30 November 2017 since the inception of the commission.

Former leader of the Gambia could face extradition

President Adama Barrow of the Gambia has said the authorities will seek to extradite and prosecute his predecessor Yahya Jammeh, who is living in exile in Equatorial Guinea, if a national inquiry into human rights abuses recommends this. In December, a commission was established to examine state crimes during Jammeh’s 22-year tenure. Human rights groups have documented alleged systematic torture, enforced disappearances and other rights abuses under the…

Daily World News Digest, 25 January 2018

Malaysia: police accused of withholding information in missing persons case

A public inquiry in Malaysia has been told that police failed to provide information to the family of a man who disappeared in November 2016. Amri Che Mat, who ran a charitable organization, was abducted 550m from his home in Kangar in northern Malaysia. Police later found his car. The inquiry is mandated to determine whether the abductions of Pastor Raymond Koh and Amri, as well as the disappearance of Joshua and Ruth Hilmy in 2016, are cases of enforced disappearance sanctioned by the state.

China: “enforced disappearances in a very organized way”

At least 120,000 members of China’s Muslim Uighur minority have been confined to political “re-education camps”, according to a report by Radio Free Asia (RFA), a US-backed news group. RFA said it obtained the figure from a security official in Kashgar, in Xinjiang province. Just in the…

Daily World News Digest, 24 January 2018

Colombia: Search Unit awaits funding

The prosecutor in charge of finding tens of thousands of people who went missing in Colombia’s armed conflict is still waiting for the funds that will allow her to begin work. The agreement to establish a Search Unit is part of the peace deal. The Unit is intended to work in conjunction with the transitional justice mechanism and the Truth Commission. Search Unit Director Luz Marina Monzon says she has not yet received the resources to hire investigators.

Bodies of 20 victims executed by Da’esh, found in mass grave in Mosul

A mass grave containing the remains of 20 people executed by Da’esh has been found in al-Houd village, south of Mosul, according to a security source. Thousands of Da’esh militants as well as Iraqi civilians have been killed since the government campaign against Da’esh was launched in October 2016.

Yezidi mass graves in Mosul…

Daily World News Digest, 23 January 2018

Mosul “still digging out its dead” six months after ISIS defeat

An estimated 10,000 people were killed in the nine-month battle to recapture Iraq’s second-largest city from Da’esh, according to Mosul’s municipality chief Abdul Sattar al-Habbo. Da’esh made its last stand against US-backed Iraqi troops in Mosul’s Old City. Mosul’s government has received some 9,000 requests from residents regarding missing persons. Most of them were last seen in the Old City and are believed to be buried under the ruins. In the months after Da’esh was defeated, between August and December 2017, the local health department received about 3,000 bodies.

Beijing urged to explain bookseller’s apparent arrest

The Swedish foreign ministry has indicated that “forceful measures have been taken at a high political level” to address the apparent arrest of Gui Minhai by police on Saturday while on a train to Beijing from the eastern city of Ningbo. Gui, a…

Daily World News Digest, 22 January 2018

Nearly 200 dead or missing trying to reach Spain

Europe’s border agency, Frontex, is predicting a further increase in irregular migration to Spain in 2018, after numbers in 2017 more than doubled on the previous year. UN data suggests more than 22,000 people arrived by sea last year, with more than 6,000 arriving by land. Nearly 200 are dead and missing.

Migrants die of thirst trying to reach US from Mexico

United States border patrol agents routinely vandalize containers of water and other supplies left in the Arizona desert for migrants, condemning people to die of thirst in baking temperatures, according to two humanitarian groups. In a report published last week, the Tucson-based groups said the agents committed the alleged sabotage with impunity in an attempt to deter and punish people who illegally cross from Mexico. Volunteers found water gallons vandalized 415 times, on average twice a week, in the…

Daily World News Digest, 19 January 2018

UK MPs highlight ICMP role in addressing Rohingya crisis

In the British Parliament on Thursday, during a debate on the House of Commons Select Committee on International Development’s Report on “Bangladesh and Burma: the Rohingya Crisis”, Birmingham Northfield MP Richard Burden drew attention to the fact that “one of the most tragic things for many Rohingya who have fled Burma is the fact that their relatives have simply disappeared” and noted that the Report recommends that the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) “should get involved in Burma and Bangladesh and use their data-matching techniques to try to identify the remains of those who have disappeared, and . . . to ensure proper accountability for these crimes”. The Chair of the Committee, Liverpool West Derby MP Stephen Twigg, thanked Mr Burden for drawing attention to the recommendation and noted that “it is vital that those questions of justice and accountability…

ICMP Meets with Families of Missing Persons from the Bosnian Conflict to Coordinate Future Activities

Sarajevo, 18 January 2018: The International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) hosted a meeting in Sarajevo today with families of the missing from Bosnia and Herzegovina to present ICMP’s continuing assistance to BIH and its cooperation with families and government authorities here to locate and identify the estimated 7,000 persons who are still missing from the 1992-95 conflict.

To date over 70 % of the 30,000 persons missing from the conflicts of the 1990’s have been accounted for. Despite consistent efforts of the BiH authorities to locate the remaining missing persons, the number of new sites found has decreased since 2009. ICMP will continue to help the authorities in BIH address the interrelated issues of unidentified remains held in BiH mortuaries and misidentifications that occurred before ICMP introduced DNA testing in 2001. ICMP will maintain Forensic Anthropology and Archaeology activities and will…