Monthly Archives: February 2018

Daily World News Digest, 28 February 2018

 Government inaction in Pakistan as enforced disappearances continue

Dawn newspaper in Pakistan published an editorial today saying that “an air of stultifying inaction has descended over the issue of enforced disappearances, even as people continue to go missing.” It notes that the Supreme Court has cited the government’s failure to locate missing persons and has asked the Commission of Inquiry on Enforced Disappearances to submit a report on its “perceptible progress”. “Umpteen court hearings and multiple meetings of the commission have achieved virtually nothing, and thousands of families continue to exist in limbo, not knowing whether their loved ones are alive or dead,” the paper says.

Philippines “open to inquiry” into extrajudicial killings

The Philippines will allow an investigation into alleged human rights abuses in its war on drugs by a “credible and objective investigator”, officials have said, but not an investigation by UN Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial Killings Agnes…

Daily World News Digest, 27 February 2018

ICMP helps solve decades-old Canadian missing persons case

Police in Canada have solved a 28-year old missing persons case with the assistance of the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP). ICMP was able to identify a bone sample belonging to Mary Rose Keadjuk, of Kugluktuk, Nunavut, who was 24 when she disappeared from the Gold Range Hotel in Yellowknife in June 1990. The bone fragment was found in Yellowknife in 2003 but earlier attempts by laboratories in Canada to extract sufficient DNA to make a conclusive identification had been unsuccessful. “Technology has gotten better and better over the years,” an RCMP officer said, adding that ICMP has “an expertise that is unique.”

Thailand: activist held incommunicado

Human Rights Watch has called on the Thai government immediately to end the incommunicado military detention of Aiman Hadeng, a prominent ethnic Malay Muslim human rights activist and chair of the Justice for…

Daily World News Digest, 26 February 2018

More girls abducted in Nigeria

More than 100 girls remain unaccounted for following an attack on a school in the town of Dapchi in the north-eastern Nigerian state of Yobe by suspected members of Boko Haram, the country’s Information Ministry has said. Militants attacked the town last week, but the number of abductees was only confirmed by officials at the weekend. The students’ disappearance may be one of the largest such incidents since Boko Haram abducted more than 270 schoolgirls from the town of Chibok in 2014. About 100 of the Chibok girls are still missing.

Slow progress on post-conflict justice in Nepal

Human rights groups in Nepal say political parties have deliberately held up investigations by the Commission of Investigation on Enforced Disappeared Persons and the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. Those who might be investigated include some party leaders and members of the security forces. Campaigners want Nepal to…

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 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. 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 Government and…

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,…