Monthly Archives: January 2019

Daily World News Digest, 31 January 2019

ICMP helps Albania search for victims of Communist regime

The International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) will help Albania excavate mass graves of people who went missing under the Communist regime, Courthouse News Service from the US reports. ICMP and the Albanian authorities will begin by seeking to identify and exhume remains of victims at a site near Mount Dajti, close to Tirana, and a site in Ballsh, in southern Albania.

Sri Lanka: Centrality of victims

In an opinion piece, Lanka Image from Sri Lanka explores the “continued marginalization and suffering felt by victims” of the conflict. The article argues that repairing the damage to victims is vital to ensure lasting peace. “To achieve this, Sri Lanka should look upon Colombia, a country that successfully incorporated the principle of the ‘Centrality of Victims’.”

Italy to allow rescued migrants to disembark after 10 days at sea

Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte…

Daily World News Digest, 30 January 2019

Six people died every day crossing the Mediterranean in 2018

An average of six people died each day trying to cross the Mediterranean in 2018, according to new figures released by the UN refugee agency (UNHCR), the Irish Times reports. Cuts in search-and-rescue operations were one of the reasons the Mediterranean remained the deadliest sea crossing in the world, the agency said.

Five migrants dead, 130 missing after boats sink near Djibouti

At least five migrants have died and more than 130 are missing after two boats capsized off the coast of Djibouti, Al Jazeera reports, citing the International Organization for Migration. Search and rescue operations have been launched and at least one person has been rescued.

Tuam babies: calls for immediate DNA tests

More than 20 survivors of the Tuam Mother and Baby Home have called on the Irish government to take their DNA samples urgently, the BBC reports….

Daily World News Digest, 29 January 2019

Enforced disappearance in Pakistan

Dawn newspaper from Pakistan reports that the Human Rights Ministry has drafted a bill that amends the Pakistan Penal Code to declare enforced disappearances a criminal offence. Minister for Human Rights Shireen Mazari said steps are being taken “to protect basic rights of every citizen in pursuance of the Constitution and international commitments”.

Transitional justice in Gambia

In an opinion piece, All Africa highlights challenges for the transitional justice process in Gambia, which began on 7 January with hearings of the Truth, Reconciliation and Reparation Commission. Established in October 2018 for a two-year term, the truth commission aims to investigate, record and make recommendations on human rights violations during the regime of President Yahya Jammeh (1994-2017).

UN ready to help Brazil search for missing after dam collapse

Secretary-General António Guterres said the UN will support the Brazilian authorities in the search and emergency relief efforts following…

Daily World News Digest, 28 January 2019

Amnesty: Sri Lanka must fulfil commitments on truth and justice

Amnesty International has urged Sri Lanka to fulfil commitments to truth, justice, reparations and guarantees of non-recurrence made in 2015. In a new report, Amnesty highlights key advances – including the establishment of the Office on Missing Persons (OMP) – but urges implementation of related initiatives, including the establishment of an Office on Reparations.

DR Congo: 50 mass graves discovered

AFP cites a report by the UN Joint Human Rights Office saying that more than 50 mass graves, as well as common and individual graves, have been located in Yumbi in western Mai-Ndombe province in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Ethiopia to charge suspects over mass graves

The remains of at least 300 people have been discovered in mass graves at four separate locations in Zenabu Tunu state in Ethiopia, Bloomberg reports. The authorities say they have charged at least…

Daily World News Digest, 25 January 2019

Transitional justice in Nepal

Members of the international community have urged the government of Nepal to make public its plan to take the transitional justice process forward in 2019, the Himalayan reports. The embassies of Australia, Germany, Finland, France, Norway, Switzerland, the UK and the US, and the representatives of the EU and the UN have stressed that “without broad public trust” Nepal will not be able “to bring closure to the wounds and grievances that persist from the conflict era”.

Sudan: lawyers speak out against extrajudicial killings

All Africa reports that a group of senior Sudanese lawyers have presented a memorandum to the Attorney-General demanding that the Sudanese government take immediate steps necessary to prevent extrajudicial killings of protesters. One of the lawyers said the government has faced the protests with excessive violence and allowed the police to disperse them in such a way as to deprive citizens of…

Daily World News Digest, 24 January 2019

Pakistan urged to address enforced disappearances

The website of GeoTV from Pakistan carries an opinion piece arguing that, “If Pakistan is to stop the practice of enforced disappearances; it must start bringing those responsible . . . to justice. At the minimum, this would require recognizing enforced disappearance as an autonomous offence (and until such time, prosecuting such acts under existing laws); empowering independent institutions like the National Commission for Human Rights (NCHR) to investigate cases of alleged disappearances, notwithstanding the identity of the perpetrators; ensuring cases of serious human rights violations are only tried by civilian courts, including where members of the security apparatus are allegedly responsible; and as recommended by the UN Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances (WGEID), enacting “clear rules and dedicated institutions … to ensure the oversight and accountability of law enforcement and intelligence agencies”.

Hundreds of bodies found in mass graves near…

Daily World News Digest, 23 January 2019

Guatemala: National Reconciliation Law “could lead to impunity”

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet has expressed “serious concern” after the approval in first reading of a bill to amend Guatemala’s long-standing National Reconciliation Law, saying the amendment would result in a generalized amnesty for all cases of grave human rights violations and crimes committed during the internal armed conflict, Relief Web reports.

More than 140 rescued migrants taken to Libya

Al Jazeera reports that more than 140 refugees and migrants rescued at sea by a cargo ship have landed in Libya and have been taken to a detention center, according to the United Nations. The UN said returning people to Libya goes against international law because they risk abuse and torture there.

Kenya: Students protest extrajudicial killings

University students in Kenya have staged peaceful demonstrations over increased cases of extrajudicial killings, The Star from Kenya reports. Protestors have…

ICMP Welcomes Continued Dutch Support To Address the Global Missing Persons Challenge 

Photo is a courtesy of the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs

The Hague, 22 January 2019: The Government of the Kingdom of the Netherlands is a key strategic partner for the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP), supporting ICMP’s Headquarters in The Hague and supporting its core functions and country programs around the world, ICMP Director-General Kathryne Bomberger said today.  

Ms Bomberger was speaking after a meeting in The Hague with Foreign Minister Stef Blok. She highlighted the fact that “the Netherlands was one of the key players behind the signing – with the United Kingdom, Belgium, Luxembourg and Sweden – of the ICMP Agreement in December 2014,” and noted that the Agreement, which establishes ICMP as the only international organization in the world that exclusively addresses the issue of missing and disappeared persons, “reflects the emerging international consensus about the nature and scale of the global missing persons issue and the urgent need to tackle this issue in a coherent and effective way.”   

The Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) facilitated ICMP’s move to Headquarters in The Hague in 2015 and also ICMP’s laboratory transition to The Hague, which was completed at the end of 2017. Since this relocation, ICMP has developed its existing partnership…

Daily World News Digest, 22 January 2019

Pakistani missing persons activist arrested

Reuters reports that Pakistani activist Alamzeb Mehsud, affiliated with a group that has angered the country’s military with its campaign against disappearances, was arrested on Monday, according to a Member of Parliament, leading Amnesty International to call for him to be charged or immediately released. Mehsud is a founding member of the Pashtun Tahaffuz Movement (PTM), which has called for answers to the thousands of unresolved missing persons cases in Pakistan, primarily from the ethnic Pashtun region bordering Afghanistan.

Extrajudicial killings reported during Zimbabwe disturbances

The Zimbabwean authorities must ensure that the security forces exercise restraint and respect the rights of people protesting against massive fuel price hikes, Amnesty International said on the second day of a national strike in Zimbabwe. At least eight people have reportedly been killed by security forces and 200 arbitrarily detained during the present disturbances.

Amnesty warns about atrocities…

Daily World News Digest, 21 January 2019

More than 170 Mediterranean migrants feared dead

The BBC reports that about 170 people are feared to have died in two separate Mediterranean shipwrecks, according to UNHCR. The Italian navy reports that a ship sank off the coast of Libya with 117 people on board, while Moroccan and Spanish authorities have tried to locate a vessel that has disappeared in the western Mediterranean.

Yezidi family rescued from Da’esh

A mother and three children has been rescued and united with their relatives in Duhok after four years in Da’esh captivity, Rudaw Media Network reports. “As the areas controlled by Da’esh are shrinking daily, the number of rescued Yezidi’s is increasing,” the report notes, adding that, according to the Kurdish Regional Government, 3,117 Yezidis are still missing.

HRW: Uganda has “failed to provide accountability for torture and extrajudicial killings”

A Human Rights Watch report finds that the Ugandan government “has failed…