Colombia: Special Jurisdiction for Peace begins operations
Colombia’s transitional justice system is beginning its work, investigating and preparing cases on crimes committed during the nation’s five-decade conflict. Officials said Thursday that victims will now be able to file complaints with the newly created jurisdiction and hailed the commencement as a historic step toward reconciliation. It’s not yet been determined when the cases will be heard in court. Nearly 4,700 ex-combatants with the former Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia have already committed to confessing their crimes to special peace tribunals and making reparation to victims. The former rebels reached an accord with the government in 2016. More than 250,000 people were killed, millions displaced and at least 60,000 left missing during the conflict between leftist rebels, government forces and paramilitary groups. http://bit.ly/2FO0q6k
Sri Lanka to establish “Office for Reparations”
Following the establishment of the Office on Missing Persons, the Sri Lankan…
Nigeria: President insists that search for missing schoolgirls is continuing
Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari vowed on Wednesday that his government will not give up until the schoolgirls kidnapped by Boko Haram militants are freed. “There will be no rest till the last girl, whether from Chibok and (or) Dapchi, is released,” Buhari said, referring to the towns where the terror group has struck in the past four years. He was speaking at a college in Dapchi, a town in Yobe state where Boko Haram abducted 110 schoolgirls on 19 February. In April 2014, Boko Haram sparked international outrage when it kidnapped 276 girls from a boarding school in Chibok, in Borno state. More than 100 of these girls remain in captivity, and their whereabouts are unknown. http://cnn.it/2pe4eXm
UN urged to address human rights violations in China
Human Rights Watch has issued a statement urging the UN Human Rights Council to reject…
Libya: Missing Migrants
More than 10,000 migrants have crossed the Mediterranean to Europe this year, and more than 460 people have died or gone missing making the crossing. There are other hazards too: migrants in Libya who have been abducted and tortured to extort a payment for their release, and even sold as slaves. Yet despite these dangers, the International Organization for Migration estimates there are up to 1 million migrants currently in Libya. http://cnn.it/2DqBCiU
Sri Lanka’s Office on Missing Persons starts work
The Chair of Sri Lanka’s newly constituted Office on Missing Persons (OMP), Saliya Pieris, has issued a statement formally announcing that the OMP has begun operations and promising that it will address cases “irrespective of ethnicity, religion and region.” The statement defines the OMP’s key tasks as “tracing missing and disappeared persons, clarifying the circumstances in which the act took place, protecting the rights and interests of those…
Campaigners in Ireland call for full excavation of mass grave
Survivors and family members of the 796 “Tuam babies” have urged the Irish authorities to carry out a full forensic excavation and exhumation, as well as DNA testing at the site of the former Mother and Baby Home in the West of Ireland where a mass grave was discovered more than a year ago. http://bit.ly/2GncOLB
Cameroon: crackdown on political activists
The Lagos-based rights group, the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP), has urged the African Union (AU) to suspend Cameroon in order to put pressure on its government to end the alleged torture and ill-treatment of 47 political activists forcibly returned to Cameroon by the Nigerian authorities. According to the group, activists in Cameroon are also subjected to enforced disappearances, politically motivated trials, and gross and systematic violations of their rights. http://bit.ly/2IiVO9T
UN official fears for safety after Philippines lists her…
14 Years since Disappearance of Thai Rights Lawyer
Human Rights Watch (HRW) has again highlighted the enforced disappearance of the former chairperson of Thailand’s Muslim Lawyers Association and vice-chairman of the Human Rights Committee of the Lawyers Council of Thailand, Somchai Neelapaijit, who was abducted on 12 March 2004 in Bangkok allegedly by police officers and has not been seen since. A court ruled that Somchai’s family could not act as a co-plaintiff because there was no concrete evidence that he was dead, setting a precedent that places the burden of proving enforced disappearance on the disappeared person. http://bit.ly/2p8dwUT
ICMP to identify migrants missing in the Mediterranean
The International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) is to launch a program to help account for migrants who die trying to cross the Mediterranean. It will do so with financial support from Switzerland, among others. According to the International Organization for Migration, more than…
Sarajevo, 9 March 2018: The Director of Albania’s Institute of the Formerly Politically Persecuted, Bilal Kola, led a training and study mission to Sarajevo this week as part of an ICMP initiative to help Albania develop its capacity to address the issue of missing persons.
During the visit, which ended today, six staff members from the Institute of the Formerly Politically Persecuted were trained in ante-mortem data collection and reference sample collection at ICMP’s facilities in Sarajevo and Tuzla. ICMP also provided training in the use of its Identification Data Management System (iDMS), which will be used to assist the Albanian authorities in compiling a list of missing persons and members of their families.
The Head of ICMP’s Western Balkans Program briefed Mr Kola on key elements of ICMP’s strategy in Bosnia and Herzegovina, where it has spearheaded an effort that has made…
Extrajudicial killings by police officers worldwide
The Economist has published and editorial on extrajudicial killings committed by security forces in different parts of the world. It argues that in countries where extrajudicial killings by police officers are most common “the biggest incentive is impunity for the killings”. In many developing countries, it says, “the authorities encourage extrajudicial executions, either to get rid of dissidents or to suppress crime. Voters often applaud them for it.” http://econ.st/2FsbR3f
Pakistan: missing activist resurfaces after one year
Samar Abbas, the head of the Civil Progressive Alliance Pakistan, an anti-extremism activist group and Pakistani social media activist, has made contact with his family after his disappearance 14 months ago. At the time of Abbas’ disappearance, four other liberal social media activists, who had been accused of posting “blasphemous content on the Internet”, also went missing from different cities in Pakistan but returned after several weeks. http://bit.ly/2tueqjP
ICMP Donates DNA laboratory equipment To Sarajevo University
The International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) has donated equipment to the Faculty of Science and Mathematics of the University of Sarajevo, which will enable the establishment of a new DNA laboratory at the university. http://bit.ly/2tvBQ8I
Accounting for the missing on the US-Mexico border
The chronicle of Philanthropy has profiled the work of the Colibri Center for Human Rights, a nonprofit in Tucson, Ariz., that works with the medical examiner’s office to unite unidentified remains of migrants with family members. More than 7,000 men, women, and children have died crossing the border in the past 20 years. Founded in 2013, Colibri started by taking missing-persons reports by phone and email. It has since then begun collecting DNA samples from families of the missing. http://bit.ly/2DbuWVy
The search for Greek soldiers buried in Albania
A DNA database to identify the remains of Greek WWII soldiers killed…
Statement by ICMP Director-General Kathryne Bomberger
On the Occasion of International Women’s Day, 8 March 2018
Events will take place around the world today to mark the progress that women have made in asserting their social, political and economic rights. There will be recognition too for those who fought to ensure that in many countries around the world women exercise their basic human rights. Yet, we must not forget those fields and countries where women still have to struggle against the odds, and this is especially relevant when it comes to the issue of disappeared and missing persons.
In conflict and other scenarios, a majority of those who disappear are male, which means that single female heads of household have to struggle on their own to access their rights and the rights of their children – the right to effective investigations and due process, the right not to be subjected to torture…
Sarajevo, 7 March 2018: The International Commission on Missing Persons has presented Sarajevo University’s Faculty of Natural Science with a comprehensive range of equipment that will make it possible to establish a new DNA laboratory at the university.
At the Faculty today, the Head of ICMP’s Western Balkans Program Matthew Holliday presented the Dean of Faculty of Natural Science, Professor Mustafa Memić with the accompanying documentation for the equipment, which includes two DNA sequencers and sequencing computers, pipettes necessary for DNA lab work and essential laboratory hardware and furniture.
ICMP has also supplied the operating system and software needed to make the equipment operational.
“The equipment donated to our faculty is of great importance and will be used in the teaching process of all three study cycles. In this way, students will be introduced to the latest technologies in the field of molecular biology….