Monthly Archives: July 2018

Daily World News Digest, 31 July 2018

Enforced disappearance in Burundi

Human Rights Watch has used the case of Burundian journalist Jean Bigirimana, who was arrested in July 2016 and is still missing, to highlight what it says is a culture of impunity surrounding disappearances and other serious abuses by the Burundi government. HRW emphasizes the failure to investigate disappearances and identify bodies of victims.

Women and children seized in southwest Syria

The BBC reports that more than 30 women and children are being held by Da’esh following attacks in southwest Syria. The abductions, which were reported by the Suwayda24 website and the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, followed a series of suicide bombings that targeted an area dominated by the Druze ethnic minority on 25 July. Several women have since managed to escape, and two have died, the reports say. Negotiations to secure their release are under way, according to Suwayda24.

Report on missing Malaysian airliner…

Daily World News Digest, 30 July 2018

Canada using DNA to identify migrant nationality

Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) immigration officials are using DNA testing and ancestry websites to try to establish the nationality of migrants being held as “long-term detainees”, the CBSA said on Friday. Reuters reports that this practice is an effort to avoid indefinite incarceration of non-citizens and CBSA has clarified that the agency obtains consent from clients before submitting their information to DNA websites.

Srebrenica: responsibility and justice

In its obituary of Hatidza Mehmedovic, the Srebrenica campaigner who died of cancer on 22 July, the New York Times notes that Mrs. Mehmedovic spoke out against growing nationalism in Bosnia and Herzegovina. “We can’t let those who killed become the same as those who were killed,” she said in a recent TV interview. “I should not be the only one who is afraid of a future in which we don’t know who was the…

Daily World News Digest, 27 July 2018

Syrian government confirms deaths of 161 disappeared

Responding to reports that the Syrian government has confirmed the deaths of at least 161 victims of enforced disappearance since the start of the conflict in 2011, Amnesty International has called on the government to return the remains to their families and explain the circumstances of the forced disappearance and deaths of their loved ones.

Fate of hundreds of Gulf War missing still unknown

Despite Iraq’s effort to find the fate of 609 Kuwaiti citizens and 1,022 Iraqis who disappeared during the first Gulf War in 1991, the fate of many is still unknown, Aljazeera reports. The Iraqi Government has offered financial rewards to anyone who can help locate human remains, but only 236 Kuwaitis reported missing have been recovered from mass graves (original article in Arabic).

Many Syrian prisoners are registered as deceased

In recent weeks, Syrian officials have started updating records of…

ICMP Workshop in Iraq Highlights Impact Of Missing Persons Issue on Women

Baghdad, 26 July 2018: Baghdad Mayor Thikra Alwash joined participants today at a workshop organized in Baghdad by the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) and the Cross Sector Task Force on UN Security Council Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace and Security.

Most of the 18 ministries from the Kurdish Regional Government and Federal Iraq that are members of the Task Force participated in the workshop, which examined the impact of the missing persons issue on families and communities, and the implementation of Iraq’s National Action Plan on UNSCR 1325. Dr Alwash, who is the Head of the Coordinating Committee on UNSCR 1325, welcomed future collaboration between the Task Force and ICMP to ensure that the missing persons issue is fully integrated in the agenda on women, peace and security.

Today’s workshop was a follow-up to a conference organized by ICMP in Baghdad on 2 May together with the US Bureau…

Daily World News Digest, 26 July 2018

UN welcomes plan to account for missing persons from Spanish Civil War

UN News reports that a group of UN human rights experts has welcomed the new Spanish Government’s plan to establish a Truth Commission to investigate violations that occurred during the civil war and the Franco dictatorship. The Government has announced a series of initiatives to revise the Historical Memory Law, which would make it possible to create a new commission and a Directorate General for Historical Memory, which, among other things, will plan the search for missing people, publicize exhumation details and maintain an official list of victims.

Laos: Hundreds missing after dam collapse

Following the collapse of a hydroelectric dam in southern Laos, TIME magazine reports on rescue efforts, including the search for hundreds of people who are still missing.

Egypt: US releases aid despite human rights concerns

PBS News Hour reports that the US, citing security…

Daily World News Digest, 25 July 2018

Pakistan: journalists threatened with disappearance

The Diplomat news portal carries a report about what it says is intimidation of the media in Pakistan. Pakistan ranks 139th out of 180 countries in the latest Reporters Without Borders World Press Freedom Index. The Diplomat cites censorship during anti-government, anti-military protests by groups that have accused the army of enforced disappearances, extrajudicial executions, and other human rights violations.

Myanmar: authorities accused of destroying evidence of crimes

The Straits Times reports that international diplomats and organizations have expressed concern that the country is incapable and unwilling to implement recommendations on human rights measures, amid accusations that the authorities are trying to destroy evidence of crimes against the Rohingya by bulldozing mass graves.

Turkman families “do not report their female missing persons.”

As many as 1,500 Turkman women and men were abducted by Da’esh during their occupation of Telafar, west of Mosul. Few have been freed and the…

Daily World News Digest, 24 July 2018

US: Border Control missing migrants program from Texas reports on efforts by the US Border Patrol to help migrants who become lost on the trek through the Rio Grande Valley. The Border Patrol is implementing a new program that it says will combat smuggling and migrant deaths and enable missing migrants to call for help using new emergency markers.

Mexico: mass graves in Tijuana

The Zocalo news portal from Mexico reports on the work of a forensic medical team in Tijuana, on the US-Mexico border, which has had to process more than 300 sets of human remains every month this year, largely recovered from four different mass graves (article in Spanish).

Chad: impunity for enforced disappearance

Amnesty International has published a report listing concerns about what it says is the increasing use of repressive laws and the intelligence service in Chad. Among other things, the report highlights impunity for…

Daily World News Digest, 23 July 2018

Death of Hatidza Mehmedovic of the Mothers of Srebrenica

Hatidza Mehmedovic, a vocal activist seeking justice for victims of the Srebrenica massacre, died in Sarajevo on Sunday the Anadolu news agency reports. She was 66. The head of Mothers of Srebrenica Association was receiving treatment for cancer. After losing her husband and two sons in the massacre, Mehmedovic dedicated her life to raising awareness about the massacre and became a symbol of resistance.

Pakistan: judicial activism and enforced disappearances

The Daily Times from Pakistan has published an in-depth article on the judicial environment in which Pakistan is seeking to resolve the 4,608 cases of enforced disappearance reported to the authorities between 2011 and 2017. The article notes that Pakistan has not ratified the International Convention on the Prevention of Enforced Disappearance or enacted legislation to criminalize acts or omissions associated with enforced disappearances.

Nepal: new law on enforced disappearance


ICMP expresses condolences on the death of Hatidža Mehmedović

The Hague, 23 July 2018: The Commissioners and staff of the International Commission on Missing Persons have expressed their condolences to the Association of the Mothers of Srebrenica following the death on Sunday, after a long illness, of the Association’s President, Hatidza Mehmedovic.

“Hatidza represented the strengths that have made the Mothers of Srebrenica a powerful moral force and a model for survivors groups throughout the world,” Ms Bomberger said today. “She responded to the crime against her family by embarking on a life-long pursuit of justice. She mixed compassion for victims with a resolve to pursue the truth.”

Hatidza’s husband, two brothers and two sons were murdered in the 1995 genocide. ICMP assisted in identifying one of Hatidza’s brothers in 2004, and her husband and two sons in 2010. Hatidza returned to live in Srebrenica in 2003.

Since 2001, when it introduced mass DNA matching, ICMP has identified 6,940 of the…

Lord Peter Carrington – 6 June 1919 – 9 July 2018


Lord Peter Carrington, who died on 9 July, served as an ICMP Commissioner in 1996 and 1997, when the organization had just been established following the 1996 G-7 Summit in Lyon. Lord Carrington brought an unparalleled understanding of the Western Balkans, having chaired the European Peace Conference on Yugoslavia in 1991. As a former British Foreign Secretary, he was able to raise the profile of the missing persons issue, arguing eloquently and effectively that – with 40,000 people unaccounted for – efforts to achieve postwar stability would be severely undermined unless a systematic program was undertaken to account for those who were missing, regardless of religion, political affiliation or role in the conflict. Long after he ceased to be a Commissioner he continued to assist ICMP and to support efforts to account for missing persons around the world. He has been remembered, following…