Monthly Archives: February 2019

Accounting for the Missing Is an Investment in Peace

The Hague, 19 February 2019: The Mediterranean remains the scene of daily tragedies, even if the reduction in the number of migrants reaching Europe has reduced media coverage of these tragedies, the Director-General of the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP), Kathryne Bomberger, wrote in an opinion piece that appeared in The Times of Malta today.

She noted that, “while fewer refugees have tried to make the journey, fatalities and disappearances have continued. In the first month of 2019, the number was already well into the hundreds,” and she added that refugees and migrants sent back to embarkation ports, many of them in Libya, have routinely been subject to arbitrary detention.

Ms Bomberger highlighted “an urgent need to mobilize existing capacities among European countries such as Cyprus, Greece, Malta and Italy”. She pointed out that all four countries expressed a strong interest during an ICMP meeting held in Rome in June…

Daily World News Digest, 18 February 2019

Philippines: NGO protests delisting of 625 enforced disappearance cases

The NGO Families of Victims of Involuntary Disappearance (FIND) has criticized the Philippine government’s plan to delist 625 cases of Filipinos who were disappeared from 1975 to 2012, GMA News from the Philippines reports. FIND says the government’s plan is “an attempt to sweep the hapless victims of involuntary disappearance under the rug”.

ICMP: Srebrenica Genocide is established historical fact

Following an announcement by the government of Republika Srpska, one of two Entities in Bosnia and Herzegovina, that it is establishing commissions to investigate events in and around Srebrenica and in Sarajevo during the war, N1 News reports that ICMP has expressed its full support for all efforts that can lead to more information in respect of missing persons, but there can be no revisionism of the established facts regarding genocide in Srebrenica. (article in B/C/S).

UN: missing persons issue…

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…