Yearly Archives: 2018

Daily World News Digest, 28 November 2018

Hundreds of bodies recovered in Raqqa

After working for more than a month, local teams have been able to recover “516 bodies of presumably ISIL fighters and civilians” from the Panorama mass grave in Raqqa, Syria, believed to be the largest mass grave in the region, containing as many as 1,500 bodies, Al Jazeera English reports. Human rights groups warn that the local teams might not be receiving the support they need; Sara Kayyali from Human Rights Watch said, “The bodies are decomposing at an exponential rate… If they are not preserved in the correct way, significant amount of evidence might be lost.”

Zimbabwe: disappearance of ex-army officer

Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights have called on the Harare High Court to order a probe into the alleged enforced disappearance of an ex-army officer, Eyewitness News from South Africa reports. The lawyers say the incident bears a resemblance to the enforced…

Daily World News Digest, 27 November 2018

Sicily: identifying deceased migrants

Researchers, police, coroners and an imam in Sicily endeavor to identify refugees and migrants who have died at sea while trying to reach Europe, Al Jazeera reports. Due to the fact that most victims do not carry identification documents, such as passports, the work of coroners is essential as they examine bodies and provide forensic police with information about refugees’ DNA, origin, height, weight and gender.

Syrian: female victims of enforced disappearance

From the beginning of the Syrian conflict in March 2011, until 25 November this year, 27,226 women have been killed by all the parties to the conflict, the Syrian Network for Human Rights reports. According to SNHR, “violence inflicted on Syrian women is unmatched in any other part of the world.” It says 9,906 women are currently missing, either under arrest or forcibly disappeared.

Lebanon: UN rights experts welcome law on enforced disappearances


Daily World News Digest, 26 November 2018

ICMP in Iraq

On 25 November, ICMP Director-General Kathryne Bomberger and Chair of the ICMP Commissioners Thomas Miller held a meeting in Baghdad with First Deputy Speaker of the Iraqi Parliament Hassan Karim Al-Kaabi, the Iraqi Parliament’s website reports. Cooperation between ICMP and Iraq was discussed during the meeting. The Deputy Speaker thanked ICMP for its support. Ms Bomberger noted that the number of missing in Iraq is among the highest of any country in the world, and Ambassador Miller said ICMP is ready to assist the Iraqi authorities and expand its operations to help Iraq. (article in Arabic)

More than 3,000 Yezidi still missing

The bodies in 68 mass graves in Sinjar have not yet been exhumed and more than 3,000 Yezidi are still missing, Archy News Nety reports. The UN estimates that between 2,000 and 5,500 Yezidi were killed by Da’esh after it took control of the area…

Daily World News Digest, 23 November 2018

Mumbai: more than 2,000 women reported missing since 2013

Since 2013, 5,056 women below the age of 18 have been reported missing or kidnapped in the Indian state of Maharashtra, the Manorama news portal reports. Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis said 4,758 of these women had been found. A total of 21,652 women above the age of 18 were reported missing in the same period, of whom 19,686 were found.

Ethiopia: mass grave with 200 protesters

Bloomberg reports that 200 human remains found in a mass grave in Ethiopia are said to belong to protestors against the former administration in the region where the grave was found. Police on Thursday identified five suspects including the former regional president Abdi Mohamoud Omar.

Philippines: families of massacre victims seek justice

Nine years after the killing of 58 people in the “Ampatuan massacre”, families of the victims still wait for judgment on members…

Daily World News Digest, 22 November 2018

Largest mass grave found in Sri Lanka

A mass grave found earlier this year in Mannar, in the north of Sri Lanka, is the country’s largest ever excavated, with more than 230 skeletons, the BBC reports. The Sri Lankan government earlier this year established an Office of the Missing Persons to investigate disappearances. Human rights groups say at least 20,000 people disappeared during Sri Lanka’s long civil war, which ended in 2009.

UN: enforced disappearances continuing in Burundi

UN Special Envoy Michel Kafando has told the Security Council that “violations of human rights and other abuses, such as arbitrary arrests, enforced disappearances, and other acts of intimidation, persist, as do hate speech, especially against opposition actors” are a continuing occurrence in Burundi, UN News reports

Extrajudicial killings in the Philippines

The Commission on Human Rights in the Calabarzon region in southern Luzon, the Philippines, has investigated at least…

Daily World News Digest, 21 November 2018

Egypt: enforced disappearance of children

Amnesty International has accused authorities in Egypt of committing “shocking violations” against children. Amnesty’s North Africa Campaigns Director Najia Bounaim said “Egyptian authorities have subjected children to horrific violations including torture, prolonged solitary confinement and enforced disappearance for periods of up to sev­­en months”.

Enforced disappearance in Bangladesh

The Star newspaper from Bangladesh reports that at least 437 people fell victim to extrajudicial killings by law enforcement agencies and 26 others were forcibly disappeared across the country in the last 10 months, according to a report by the rights group Ain O Salish Kendra (ASK) on the activities of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC). It said 276 victims were killed in a nationwide anti-drug operation from 15 May to 31 October.

Spate of abductions in Cameroon

The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights has highlighted worsening violence as a result of clashes between security forces…

Daily World News Digest, 20 November 2018

Sri Lanka: authorities “must not disrupt investigations” into disappearances

Responding to the transfer of a key police officer responsible for high-profile human rights cases, Amnesty International has urged the authorities in Sri Lanka not to impede ongoing criminal investigations, including investigations into attacks against journalists and disappearances.

Japan: reparations to Korean former “comfort women” under scrutiny

In a report on Japan’s implementation of the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance, the UN Committee on Enforced Disappearances, has expressed concern over a lack of reparations paid to Korean women, who were forced to work in Japanese wartime brothels, The Japan Times reports.

Nairobi: ICC takes suspect into custody in CAR investigation

Human Rights Watch notes that as the International Criminal Court (ICC) takes its first suspect into custody in its investigation of serious crimes committed in the Central African Republic since 2012, the ICC “has a…

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…