Monthly Archives: May 2019

Daily World News Digest, 31 May 2019

Venezuela: migrants disappear after shipwreck

The Trinidad and Tobago Guardian reports that the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) and the UN have expressed concern over the disappearance of Venezuelan migrants who were trying to reach Trinidad and Tobago. The IACHR has called for a search and rescue mission, noting that the two countries must undertake an investigation to locate and identify the missing.

Kenya: extrajudicial killings and forced disappearances

The Star newspaper from Kenya reports that there have been 47 extrajudicial killings and 18 forced disappearances in the country’s coastal province of Kwale, noting that investigations into these cases have not been successful.

Zimbabwe: 7 detained after rights meeting

Human Rights Watch reports that Zimbabwe state security agents have arrested seven members of Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights at the Robert Mugabe International Airport in Harare. The activists were returning from a workshop in the Maldives hosted by the…

Daily World News Digest, 30 May 2019

Three more victims of Srebrenica genocide identified

Anadolu Agency reports on new identifications of victims of the Srebrenica genocide, following exhumations from mass graves in Liplje and Kamenica near Zvornik in eastern Bosnia. The identifications were made through DNA analysis, with the assistance of the International Commission on Missing persons (ICMP). (Original article in BCS).

Iraq: Identification of human remains from Sinjar

Shaafaq News reports that, following the excavation of 10 mass graves in Sinjar in northern Iraq, 138 bodies have been sent to the Medico-Legal Department in Baghdad for examination and identification. The report notes that exhumations at the remaining mass graves in Sinjar will resume after Ramadan Eid (Original article in Arabic).

Pakistan urged to investigate North Waziristan deaths

Human Rights Watch has urged the authorities in Pakistan to investigate the deaths of at least three people during violent protests in North Waziristan on 26 May. Demonstrators were protesting…

Innovative efforts to find the missing: the joint work of ICMP, the prosecutors and MPI

Sarajevo May 2019: The process of accounting for missing persons from the conflict in Bosnia and Herzegovina has resulted in the identification of more than 23,000 of the approximately 30,000 missing persons. Of this number, around 8,000 were identified by traditional methods of presumptive identification, and more than 15,000 were identified based on DNA analysis. However, approximately 3,000 cases of human remains that have been exhumed from gravesites over the years remain unidentified, or NN (nomen nescio/no name).

In 2013, the BIH Chief Prosecutor ordered a review of the NN cases in permanent and temporary mortuary facilities in BIH, in order to establish the scope of the problem and the potential reasons for the inability to match the DNA profiles from NN cases to any of the genetic references that ICMP has collected from relatives of missing persons. To undertake this task, the Office of the Chief Prosecutor assembled NN…

Daily World News Digest, 29 May 2019

Yezidi family reunited

The BBC reports on the members of a Yezidi family held in captivity by Da’esh, who have finally been reunited five years after their abduction. Hundreds have been freed since the collapse of the so-called Islamic State (IS). “Few were brutalized more by IS than Yezidis, a religious minority who were captured and enslaved when IS swept through their homeland in Sinjar, northern Iraq. But some, like Nashaat, survived. After four years separated from his mother Fawzia, they’re about to be reunited.”

Kuwait: missing persons from the Gulf War

The mortal remains of some 369 Kuwaitis abducted by Saddam Hussein’s forces during the Gulf War are still missing, Aljazeera reports. Families believe that officials of the former Iraqi regime continue to deny crimes so that they cannot be held accountable.

 Mexico: 481 missing persons in the last 100 days

The Head of the National Search Commission…

Daily World News Digest, 28 May 2019

Syria: Smuggled documents reveal war crimes

CNN reports that 800,000 documents have been smuggled out of Syria by a group of investigators, revealing war crimes including the torture and killing of detainees, allegedly carried out by the Assad regime. The investigators have become known as the “document hunters”.

Serbia urged to reveal locations of mass graves

The family of three Albanian-American brothers killed in Serbia have urged Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic to pressure Vlastimir Djordjevic, a former police official convicted of Kosovo war crimes, to reveal the location of mass graves, Balkan Insight reports. Djordjevic was jailed for 18 years by the Hague Tribunal for war crimes in Kosovo and could be due for early release on 17 June after serving two-thirds of his sentence.

Memorial for genocide victims in northern Iraq

Kurdistan 24 reports that the Mayor of Sinjar in northern Iraq has asked the Kurdistan Regional Government…

Daily World News Digest, 27 May 2019

Bangladesh: long wait for families of the disappeared

Aljazeera reports on a demonstration by family members in the Bangladesh capital, Dhaka, remembering loved ones who have disappeared. The Odhikar human rights group has documented 505 enforced disappearances between 2009 and 2018.

Mexico: police officers kidnapped

Two police officers from the Prosecutor’s Office of the State of Jalisco who were assigned to missing persons cases have been kidnapped while inspecting a private ranch. The Prosecutors Office says federal and state agencies are trying to locate the officers, the newspaper El Universal reports. The article says the State of Jalisco has more than 7,000 missing persons (Original article in Spanish).

Pakistan: Three killed at protest against enforced disappearances

Aljazeera reports that at least three people were killed and more than 15 wounded in the North Waziristan region of Pakistan on Sunday in protests against enforced disappearances. The protests were led by…

Daily World News Digest, 24 May 2019

Calls for tribunal to prosecute Da’esh members

The Netherlands called on Thursday for the establishment of a tribunal to prosecute members of Da’esh, the Associated Press reports. The proposal was made at a UN Security Council meeting on the protection of civilians in conflict and the need for accountability and an end to impunity for violations of international human rights and humanitarian laws. Dutch Foreign Minister Stef Blok said the Netherlands will organize a ministerial meeting on the prosecution of Da’esh fighters.

El Salvador suspends controversial amnesty bill

Reuters reports that lawmakers in El Salvador agreed on Thursday to suspend a controversial amnesty bill following an outcry from victims’ families, the United Nations and rights groups who said it aimed to whitewash crimes committed during a bloody civil war. A new proposal could be ready for a vote by Wednesday. The amnesty bill aimed to prohibit jail time for former…

Daily World News Digest, 23 May 2019

Bosnia and Herzegovina: Mass funeral for ‘Koricanske Stijene’ massacre victims to take place in July

Balkan Insight reports that human remains exhumed from the mass graves of the 1992 Koricanske Stijene massacre of more than 200 Bosniak and Croat men will be buried in July. The International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) has assisted with the excavations and with DNA matching, enabling the reliable identification of 179 victims so far.

Syria: 670 bodies exhumed from mass graves

Middle East Monitor reports that 670 sets of human remains have been exhumed from a mass grave in the northern city of Raqqa in Syria. The report notes that the exhumations are from the first row of the gravesite and that there are plans to excavate several more rows.

UNITAD submits report on mass graves in Iraq to the UN Security Council

The UN Office in Iraq says UNITAD has reported to the UN Security…

Syrian Civil Society Organizations Call for Action on Missing and Disappeared Persons

The Hague, 23 May 2019:  Syrian organizations participating in a roundtable on the issue of missing persons from the conflict in Syria have highlighted the need to harmonize their efforts to advocate for unified policy positions on the issue of missing and disappeared persons from the Syrian conflict and to build cooperation between families of the missing, regardless of communal or national background.

The International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) organized the three-day conference at its Headquarters in The Hague this week to provide families and civil society organizations (CSOs) with a forum to articulate their needs and discuss effective advocacy to uphold families’ right to truth, justice and reparation. The roundtable examined the issue of Syrians who have been detained inside the country without access to family or legal representation, the need for an independent, impartial and centralized database that will enable a systematic effort to locate and identify…

Daily World News Digest, 22 May 2019

Children of Da’esh members held in secret detention facilities

The UN human rights office (OHCHR) said on Tuesday that children whose fathers fought for Da’esh may be being held in unidentified “settlements” and “secret detention facilities” away from their mothers, UN News reports. The UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) estimates that there are close to 29,000 foreign children under the age of 12 from families of militants, of whom 20,000 children are from Iraq, while more than 9,000 are from roughly 60 other countries.

Syria: arbitrary arrests and forced disappearances

Human Rights Watch reports that Syrian intelligence has been involved in committing arbitrary detentions, forced disappearances and harassing civilians in areas that have been taken over by anti-government groups. The report notes that there are 11 cases of arbitrary detentions and disappearances in the areas of Daraa, Eastern Ghouta and southern Damascus. However, local organizations, such as Syrians for Truth and…