Monthly Archives: March 2019

Daily World News Digest, 29 March 2019

Iraq: exhuming Yezidi victims

In recent weeks, Iraqi and UN workers have exhumed what they believe to be the remains of 30 bodies of Yezidi victims of Da’esh from one of the dozens of mass graves in Iraq, Voice of America reports. UN officials say they have sent the remains located to Baghdad for identification and plan to return to mass gravesites to continue their work in May.

Malaysia: family of missing pastor’s wife seeks government help

The family of Indonesian national Ruth Sitepu who was reported missing in Malaysia three years ago, is urging the country’s government to locate her, Yahoo Singapore reports. Ruth is the wife of Malaysian Pastor Joshua Hilmy, both whom were last seen on 30 November 2016 and are believed to be victims of enforced disappearance.

Radar-aided Kosovo war grave search yields no results

An excavation in the village of Kishnica in the Gracanica…

Daily World News Digest, 28 March 2019

EU suspends sea patrols that rescue refugees and migrants in the Mediterranean

The EU has suspended sea patrols that have rescued migrants and refugees in the Mediterranean, following a dispute with the Italian government, the Guardian reports. Operation Sophia was set up in 2015 and is responsible for rescuing thousands of people attempting to reach Europe by sea. It was set to expire on Sunday.

Pakistan Urged To ‘Immediately’ Tackle Enforced Disappearances

Amnesty International has urged the Pakistan government to ensure that “all measures are taken” to end the practice of enforced disappearance, Radio Free Europe reports. Pakistan’s Commission of Inquiry on Enforced Disappearances currently has 2,178 unresolved cases.

Mexico: government pledges funds to search for the missing

Mexico’s Ministry of the Interior has indicated that it will introduce a federal subsidy to support the search for missing persons, El Manana reports. (original article in Spanish)

Indonesia buries unidentified…

Daily World News Digest, 27 March 2019

Malaysia: Crimes against Rohingya refugees described in new report

A report published by the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia, entitled Sold Like Fish, describes how human trafficking gangs committed crimes against Rohingya refugees in the period from 2012 to 2015, the Daily Telegraph reports. The investigation reveals the discovery of mass graves and internment camps along with the documentation of how Rohingya refugees were enslaved, starved, raped and murdered.

Syria: 215 Yezidis rescued

Since the beginning of the Syrian Democratic Forces’ liberation of the last Da’esh stronghold in Eastern Syria, 215 Yezidis, mostly women and children have been rescued, Kirkuk Now reports. According to the Yezidi Home Organization, rescued Yezidis will be sent back to Sinjar. (Original article in Kurdish).

Iraq: 90 people missing after boat sinks near Mosul

Despite rescue efforts by national and international teams, 90 people are still missing after an amusement park boat capsized near Mosul,…

Daily World News Digest, 26 March 2019

Zimbabwe CSOs call for missing persons database

Civil society organizations in Zimbabwe have urged the government to establish a missing persons database, specifically to gather information on victims of the 1980s anti-opposition “Gukurahundi”. Dumisani Nkomo, director of the Habakkuk Trust, a Christian organization based in Bulawayo, said a database could bring closure to victims’ families. “The Gukurahundi issue must be talked about in public,” he said, noting that this point was recently made by President Emmerson Mnangagwa. Nkomo said such a database could be used by survivors in terms of economic benefits for dependents of those who disappeared or who were killed. “There is need to put names to those faces of people who died.”

Mexican government reopens search for 1970s victim

Mexican authorities have reopened the search for Rosendo Radilla, an activist who went missing in 1974 during the “Dirty War” in the state of Guerrero, the Reforma newspaper…

Daily World News Digest, 25 March 2019

Hundreds of mass graves from 1971 “lie unmarked” in Bangladesh

The Dhaka Tribune reports on what it says has been a failure to identify and protect mass graves dating from the 1971 massacres in Bangladesh. Officials at the Ministry of Liberation War Affairs say they have identified 204 mass killing fields and mass gravesites, while the War Crimes Facts Finding Committee, Bangladesh says there were about 5000 mass graves. There are reported to be more than 70 mass graves in Dhaka city.

Mexico: “no financial limit in the search for missing persons.”

Mexican President Andres López Obrador says the new government will launch a program to identify 26,000 missing people. He said the program will include participation and support from family members, civil society organizations and international organizations, and he promised that there will be “no financial limitations” in regard to efforts to account for the missing. (original article in…

Daily World News Digest, 22 March 2019

ICMP on justice in the Western Balkans

The Sarajevo Times reports that, following the final verdict handed down by the UN International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals (IRMCT) in the case of Radovan Karadzic, ICMP Director-General Kathryne Bomberger commented that “a chapter in the history of conflict in the Western Balkans has closed”, adding that “as those who were responsible for crimes are brought to justice, it is important that their victims are not forgotten”. She noted that 12,000 people are still missing from the conflicts of the 1990s.

Additional coverage by FENA:

Philippines: families of the disappeared oppose “delisting” of victims

The “Desaparecidos” group in the Philippines, Families of the Disappeared for Justice, has written to the UN Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearance asking it not to accept the government’s move to “delist” 625 victims of enforced disappearance in the Philippines from 1975 to 2012, PhilStar…

Daily World News Digest, 21 March 2019

ICMP testimony at trial for war crimes in Bosnia

The Associated Press has published a report on the UN International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals (MICT) trial of Radovan Karadzic. On Wednesday, the MICT upheld the conviction of former Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic for genocide and war crimes, and extended his sentence to life in prison. AP interviewed ICMP Director-General Kathryne Bomberger on ICMP’s expert testimony at the trial, explaining its work to assist in identifying thousands of victims through a DNA-led identification process. Please watch the interview from minute 5:00 to 6:00.

Cambodia: land activist disappearance

Human Rights Watch has called on the authorities in Cambodia to reveal the whereabouts of a land activist, Sum Moeun, who was arrested by soldiers in Preah Vihear province in the north of the country on 20 January, 2019. Relatives of Sum Moeun said they received information that soldiers allegedly hit and…

Accounting for the Missing Is a Key Element in Post-War Justice

The Hague, 20 March 2019: The Director-General of the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP), Kathryne Bomberger, issued a statement following the verdict of the UN International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals (MICT) in the case of Radovan Karadzic.

“A chapter in the history of conflict of the Western Balkans closed today, when the MICT upheld the conviction of Radovan Karadzic for genocide and war crimes and extended the sentence to life in prison.

“As those who were responsible for crimes are brought to justice, it is important that their victims are not forgotten. In the former Yugoslavia, 40,000 people went missing as a result of the conflicts. More than two thirds of these people have been accounted for as a result of the action of regional governments, working together with ICMP. However, 12,000 people are still missing, including one thousand of the 8,000 victims of the Srebrenica Genocide.

“ICMP provided evidence…

Daily World News Digest, 20 March 2019

US state initiative to address issue of missing indigenous people

West Dakota TV News reports on a legislative initiative to address the issue of missing persons in the US State of North Dakota. A bill before the State congress would create a North Dakota missing persons database. One Democrat representative highlighted the need for more data, particularly on missing and murdered indigenous people, noting that “the epidemic of missing and murdered indigenous people has left many native communities on high alert.”

Libya: two bodies of Murzuk mass grave identified

Two of the 17 bodies found in the outskirts of the city of Murzuk in southwest of Libya last Monday have been identified by their families, a Murzuk Municipality official confirmed, according to the Libya Observer.

Witness recalls digging mass graves for Srebrenica victims

A witness at the trial of eight Serb ex-policemen accused of taking part in the Srebrenica Genocide…

Daily World News Digest, 19 March 2019

Rwanda: mass burial of genocide victims

Remains of more than 62,000 victims of the 1994 Rwandan Genocide recovered from areas around Kabuga in Rwanda’s Eastern Province last year, will be laid to rest later this month at Nyanza Genocide Memorial, The New Times from Rwanda reports.

Egypt urged to determine missing politician’s whereabouts

Human Rights Watch has urged the Egyptian authorities to “exert serious efforts to find and reveal the whereabouts of Mostafa al-Nagar”, a former parliament member who has been missing for nearly five months. HRW says that although the government has denied any role in arresting al-Nagar, “family members and lawyer claim that authorities have not meaningfully investigated his case.”

Hundreds dead and thousands missing as cyclone hits southeast Africa

With hundreds of people confirmed dead and thousands others missing or displaced after a devastating cyclone hit Mozambique, Zimbabwe and parts of Malawi between 14 and 16 March,…