Monthly Archives: November 2018

Daily World News Digest, 19 November 2018

Mexico: mass graves in Tamaulipas

A non-governmental organization dedicated to searching for hidden graves in Tamaulipas, northeastern Mexico, has found at least 50 narco-camps, Mexico News Daily reports. The state’s Attorney General’s office identified 280 mass graves between 2006 and 2016, ranking Tamaulipas as second only to Veracruz, where 332 mass graves have been found.

California: number of missing from wildfires still rising

The death toll from California’s deadly fires has risen to 77 and the number of missing persons has dramatically risen to around 1,000, the BBC reports. Because of the intensity of the fire, officials have warned that full recovery may take weeks, as hundreds of specialists and cadaver dogs use reports to find and search residences for evidence of human remains.

Egypt: dozens arrested and held at “undisclosed locations”

Egyptian authorities have arrested at least 40 human rights advocates, lawyers and political activists in the last…

Daily World News Digest, 16 November 2018

ICMP to help Albanian authorities accounting for missing persons

The International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) will help the authorities in Albania to account for thousands of people who went missing during the Communist era, after the Albanian parliament on Thursday evening approved an agreement with ICMP, Balkan Insight reports. During 45 years of Communist rule, an unknown number of Albanians were executed and buried in unmarked graves or died in prison camps.

Cambodia: sentences for enforced disappearances in the 1970s

NBC reports on the sentencing, by the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia, of two surviving Khmer Rouge leaders for crimes including murder, extermination, deportation, enslavement, imprisonment, torture, persecution on political, religious and racial grounds, attacks on human dignity, enforced disappearances, forced transfers, forced marriages and rape, between 1975 and 1980.

Mexico: almost 40,000 still missing

The Wall Street Journal reports on spiraling violence in Mexico, which…

Albania Ratifies Agreement with ICMP

Tirana, 15 November 2018: In Tirana today, the Albanian Parliament ratified a Cooperation Agreement between the Council of Ministers of the Republic of Albania and the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP).

The Agreement enables ICMP to assist the Albanian authorities in their efforts to search for and identify persons who went missing during the communist era in Albania. The Agreement regulates ICMP’s status in Albania, and lays out the duties and responsibilities of the signatories in the missing persons process.

“ICMP applauds the ratification of the Agreement and the courage of the Albanian authorities in tackling this very sensitive issue from Albania’s communist past,” said Matthew Holliday, the Head of ICMP’s Western Balkans Program.

Mr. Holliday said a Pilot Project funded by the European Union, which will now get under way, will focus on two specific locations, Dajti and Ballsh.

ICMP will use cutting-edge DNA technology to assist the Albanian authorities in…

Daily World News Digest, 15 November 2018

Philippines: Extrajudicial killings and forced disappearances spreading again

A Catholic bishop has warned that forced disappearances and extrajudicial killings are spreading again in Metro Manila, the Inquirer newspaper from the Philippines reports. Caloocan Bishop Pablo Virgilio David says his diocese has already documented 11 killings in the first 10 days of November.

Sudan and Egypt: enforced disappearance of activist

Sudan’s national security authorities have confirmed that they have detained exiled activist Mohamed Boshi, who was forcibly disappeared in Egypt in October 2018, Human Rights Watch reports, noting that Egyptian and Sudanese authorities have joined forces in “forcibly disappearing and returning an asylum-seeker to Sudan, in clear violation of international norms and the prohibitions on enforced disappearances, persecution, and torture,”

California: identifying wildfire victims

In order to identify victims of California’s deadliest wildfire, authorities say they are setting up a rapid DNA-analysis system, the Associated Press reports, explaining that portable devices…

Daily World News Digest, 14 November 2018

Syria: excavating mass graves in Raqqa

The Independent has visited the site of the largest mass grave in Raqqa where officials estimate that some 1,500 people were buried with 80 percent being civilians. Human Rights Watch warns that due to the lack of local capacities, basic forensic protocols,are not being followed, and has called for international assistance.

Iran urged to disclose whereabouts of detainees

Amnesty International has called on Iranian authorities immediately to disclose the fate and the whereabouts of hundreds of members of the Ahwazi Arab ethnic minority being held without access to their families or lawyers, following reports that some have been executed in secret. Since 24 September, up to 600 Ahwazi Arabs have been detained incommunicado, in a wave of arrests following a deadly armed attack that took place in Ahvaz, Khuzestan province.

Congo: Arbitrary arrests “still routine”

In a report released this week, the UK-based Freedom…

Daily World News Digest, 13 November 2018

ICMP at Paris Peace Forum

On Monday, at the Paris Peace Forum, the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) highlighted the responsibility of states to account for missing persons, La Croix reports. At a panel, discussion, survivors and experts explored different aspects of the global missing persons issue. “States must understand their obligation to search for the truth when people disappear,” ICMP Director-General Kathryne Bomberger said. “And they must investigate the circumstances in which people have disappeared and also those who may have been responsible.” (Article in French).

Justin Trudeau meets Nadia Murad

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Nobel Prize winner Nadia Murad met at the Paris Peace Forum on Sunday, Ezidi24 reports. During their meeting, Murad asked Trudeau for more Canadian involvement in rebuilding Sinjar and psychological rehabilitation for Yezidi Survivors. (Article in Arabic)

Ethiopia: “an important step towards accountability”

Ethiopia’s Attorney General announced on Monday that…

Accounting for the Missing Is an Investment in Peace

 The Hague, 12 November 2018: In Paris today, the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) launched an international initiative to advance the responsibility of States in accounting for all persons who go missing or have disappeared for involuntary reasons. The initiative highlights the eight principles that are enshrined in the ICMP Declaration on the Role of the State in Addressing the Issue of Persons Missing as a Consequence of Armed Conflict and Human Rights Abuse:

  • States have a responsibility to resolve the fate of missing persons
  • Fundamental human rights are invoked when a person goes missing
  • Investigations must be capable of establishing the facts
  • Effective responses require cooperation between states and with international institutions
  • Meaningful investigations ensure that individuals are not denied protections under the law
  • Establishing cause and manner of death is fundamental in upholding the right to the truth
  • All missing persons investigations are potential criminal investigations…

Daily World News Digest, 12 November 2018

Chile: ex-army chief convicted for extrajudicial killings

A Chilean judge has convicted the country’s former army chief Juan Emilio Cheyre for his role in the extrajudicial killing of 15 people in the early days of Augusto Pinochet’s military dictatorship, Al Jazeera reports. Cheyre, 71, was sentenced to three years and a day under house arrest for covering up the killings of the infamous “Caravan of Death”. During Pinochet’s 17-year rule, enforced disappearances were common practice.

California: 200 missing in wildfires

The death toll in wildfires sweeping California has risen to 31, with more than 200 people still unaccounted for, the BBC reports. Emergency teams have been sifting through the remains of more than 6,700 homes and businesses burned down in the town of Paradise while an estimated 250,000 people have been forced to flee their homes to avoid three major blazes in the state.

Kenya: action on extrajudicial killings


Daily World News Digest, 9 November 2018

Searching for missing relatives on the American migrant route

Al Jazeera reports on the tens of thousands of migrants and refugees who disappear while travelling north through Mexico to the border with the US. Many Central American migrants simply lose contact with their families along the journey and in most cases, families of the disappeared never find out what happened.

Mass grave containing 200 bodies found in Ethiopia

Along the border between the Oromiya and Somali regions, police in Ethiopia have uncovered a grave containing at least 200 bodies, Reuters reports. The region has been plagued by violence for decades as the government fought Somalia’s separatist rebel group Ogaden National Liberation Front before both sides signed a peace deal last month.

Cameroon: Kidnapped students reunited with their parents

Dozens of students who were freed from kidnappers only to be put under effective “school arrest” by the Cameroonian government have…

Daily World News Digest, 8 November 2018

Identifying the missing in South Africa

An extraordinarily large number of unidentified bodies passes through South Africa’s mortuaries, and forensic scientists battle to identify them, Bloomberg Reports. Data from 11 mortuaries in Gauteng, the most populous of South Africa’s nine provinces, underscores the size of the challenge: an average of 5 percent of cases remained unidentified last year, or about 901 people.

Iraq: Still about a million missing persons

Bert Segier from the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) spoke to Dutch national radio NPO on Wednesday about the challenge of missing persons in Iraq and ICMP’s work in the country, commenting on the recent report of the UN on the more than 200 discovered mass graves from ISIS.

Mosul: new mass grave found

The Iraqi military have found a mass grave in west Mosul, containing remains of 30 victims killed by Da’esh, Iraqi News reports. A military spokesperson…