Monthly Archives: February 2019

Srebrenica: No Room for Revisionism

The Hague, 15 February: In August 2018, the Republika Srpska (RS) National Assembly annulled the “Report of the Commission for Investigation of the Events in and around Srebrenica between 10 and 19 July 1995”, which had been produced for the RS Government in 2004. The current RS Government has now announced the setting up of two new commissions to investigate events in and around Srebrenica and in Sarajevo during the conflict in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

For more than two decades, the International Commission on Missing persons (ICMP) has led the effort to account for those who went missing during the conflict and to uphold the rights of families of the missing to truth, justice and reparations, regardless of national, ethnic or religious affiliation. The facts established by the RS Government Report 15 years ago have been confirmed by international and domestic criminal courts, and they are supported by systematic forensic…

ICMP Charts Future Path with Iraqi Authorities

The Hague, 15 February 2019: Representatives of the Iraqi institutions dealing with the issue of missing persons met throughout this week at the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) Headquarters in The Hague to examine ways in which ICMP can help Iraq to account for hundreds of thousands of missing people, including those who have gone missing as a result of Da’esh crimes.

The meeting concluded with a set of recommendations on concrete steps through which ICMP can assist the authorities of Iraq during 2019 and beyond. These recommendations respond to a set of challenges defined in “Mass Graves in Iraq” a document produced by the Department of Protection and Mass Graves Affairs of the Martyrs’ Foundation.

In Iraq, between 250,000 and one million people have gone missing from decades of conflict and human rights abuse. Iraq has taken very positive steps to address…

Daily World News Digest, 15 February 2019

Philippines to delist enforced disappearance cases

The Philstar news portal reports that the Philippine government intends to delist more than 600 cases of enforced and involuntary disappearances that occurred from 1975 to 2012, as part of its engagement with the UN Working Group on Enforced and Involuntary Disappearances. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs says the process of clarifying these cases is supported by and runs parallel to mechanisms established by the Anti-Enforced or Involuntary Disappearance Law of 2012. It says the government will continue to assist families of the disappeared.

Syria: mass grave found near Raqqa

Around 150 sets of human remains have been found near the former Da’esh capital in Syria, Raqqa. ANSA MED also reports that a mass grave has been discovered with more than 1,000 bodies that have not yet been exhumed.

Sri Lanka: DNA of families to be tested

Sri Lanka’s Office on Missing Persons…

Daily World News Digest, 14 February 2019

Malaysia: campaign to account for missing pastor and associates

The Citizens Against Enforced Disappearances group in Malaysia, which is campaigning to find out what happened to four persons who went missing two years ago, has asked Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad to order a new probe into the cases. The group called on Dr Mahathir to meet the family members of the missing persons to establish what happened and bring those responsible to justice.

Teenage migrant missing in Aegean

Greek coastguard vessels are searching for a 15-year-old girl who went missing after the boat she was traveling in, along with more than 50 migrants, capsized off the coast of Lesbos, according to The Greek Reporter. According to the latest data provided by the Greek Coast Guard, 2,075 new migrants and refugees arrived on Greek islands in the eastern Aegean Sea during the month of January.

Egypt steps up executions  


Daily World News Digest, 13 February 2019

Missing Kenyan activist found dead

A prominent Kenyan human rights activist, Caroline Mwatha, has been found dead, six days after she went missing, the BBC reports. Mwatha worked for the Dandora Community Justice Center, which has documented cases of extrajudicial killings by security personnel and campaigned for accountability and justice for victims.

Mexico: bodies of missing police officers may have been found

Authorities in the western Mexico state of Michoacan say they have found the bodies of five men in an abandoned truck, ABC News reports. Local media report that the bodies belong to five police officers from the town of Tuzantla who have been missing since last week.

Malaysia: two years since disappearance of clergyman

Yahoo News Singapore reports on the second anniversary of the disappearance of Pastor Raymond Koh and several others in Malaysia. A civil society group Citizens Against Enforced Disappearances (CAGED) will meet Prime Minister Tun…

Daily World News Digest, 12 February 2019

Brazil: Identifying victims of Brumadinho disaster

For fifteen days forensic experts in Brazil are working on recovering bodies of victims of Brumadinho dam disaster, O Globo reports. So far, 157 deaths have been confirmed and 165 people remain missing, while biggest challenge remains to locate and rescue the bodies. So far more than 500 samples of DNA of relatives of the disappeared had already been collected. The genetic material of the living will be compared with the victims found in cases where identification by other methods is not possible. (Original article in Portuguese).

Bosnia: Srebrenica women protest against new commission

Members of the ‘Women of Srebrenica’ Association gathered in the city of Tuzla to protest over a decision by Bosnian Serb authorities to form a commission that would reexamine what happened in Srebrenica during the 1990s war in Bosnia, N1 reports. The establishment of a new commission was condemned by…

Daily World News Digest, 11 February 2019

Vietnam: US veterans help find Vietnamese missing from the war reports on the Veterans Initiative of the Vietnam Veterans of America (VVA) program, which started in 1993 and utilizes artifacts and testimony of US veterans to help Vietnam find the remains of persons missing from the war. VVA teams have made 25 trips to Vietnam, providing information on 304 possible burial sites. Vietnam, which still has hundreds of thousands of missing persons, has used this information to recover more than 2,000 remains.

Rescued Yezidis return to Sinjar

After been enslaved for more than four years, five Yezidi women and seven children have been rescued by the Syrian Democratic Forces in Syria and have returned to their families in Sinjar, KirkukNow reports, highlighting the fact that 3,000 Yezidis are still missing (original article in Arabic).

Pashtun’s against forced disappearances

In an opinion piece in the New York Times, Manzoor Ahmad…

Daily World News Digest, 8 February 2019

Mexico: 19 bodies found in mass grave

Authorities in Mexico’s Pacific coast state of Colima say they have recovered 19 bodies from 11 clandestine gravesites, the Associated Press reports. The authorities plan to perform DNA testing and compare results with a database of the missing.

Arbitrary arrest and detention in Zimbabwe

Amnesty International has issued a report on the Zimbabwean authorities’ response to protests against fuel prices. It documents cases of torture, mass arbitrary arrests, detentions and routine denial of bail in fast-tracked trials: “more than 1,000 people have been arbitrarily detained following the protests, with some having been brought to court in trials that do not meet international fair trial standards.

Mediterranean: migrant deaths in 2019

The International Organization for Migration (IOM) reports that 6,413 migrants and refugees reached Europe by sea in 2019 as of 3 February, a 17 percent decrease from the 7,499 who arrived during…

Daily World News Digest, 7 February 2019

Nepal: deadline for transitional justice extended

Parliament in Nepal has amended legislation concerning the Commission on Investigation of Enforced Disappeared Persons and the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, the Kathmandu Post reports. Under the amendment, the terms of the two commissions will be extended till 9 February 2020 with a possibility of extension of one more year. This is the third extension for both commissions, which were established in 2015, originally with a two-year mandate. Critics say, extending the time-scale will not resolve difficulties in the transitional justice process, as the commissions do not have sufficient authority to carry out effective investigations.

Amnesty calls on Pakistan to release Pashtun protestors

Amnesty International has called on the authorities in Pakistan to release protestors belonging to the peaceful Pashtun Tahaffuz Movement (PTM) who it says have been arbitrarily detained. “At least 19 people were arrested from cities across Pakistan on 5 February as…

Daily World News Digest, 6 February 2019

Impunity for war crimes in Guatemala

Guatemala’s Congress is poised to amend the country’s 1996 National Reconciliation Law, NACLA from Washington reports. The amendments would terminate all ongoing proceedings against grave crimes, including genocide, torture, and crimes against humanity, committed during the country’s civil war, free all military officials and guerrilla leaders already convicted for these grave crimes, and bar all future investigations into such crimes.

Extrajudicial killings in Bangladesh

Rights groups in Bangladesh have highlighted the threat of extrajudicial killings after at least three rape suspects have been found murdered in the past two weeks, Al Jazeera reports. Bangladesh’s government under Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has been criticized for a rising number of extrajudicial killings and enforced disappearances. Last year, more than 200 people were killed extrajudicially within just a few months as part of a crackdown on drug dealers.

Migrants missing after collision off Djibouti

More details have…