Monthly Archives: September 2019

Daily World News Digest 30 September 2019

United States: New technology to trace old mass graves

Search for mass graves in Tulsa, state of Oklahoma, US, of people who lost their lives during a race massacre in 1921 will commence in a few weeks with new technology, Tulsa’s Channel 8 reports. Searchers will use a new device similar to a ground-penetrating radar which resembles a lawn-mower, but is actually a high-tech tool that can peer deep into the soil. Once the radar scans are complete the interpreted results will be given to the public oversight committee. For many in the black community, “this project is instrumental in properly honoring lives lost during the massacre”, the news report states.

UN: Accountability for violations in Venezuela

Venezuela’s enforced disappearances, extrajudicial executions, arbitrary arrests and other grave human rights violations committed since 2014 will be investigated following the adoption of a resolution last week Friday at the Human Rights Council,…

Daily World News Digest 27 September 2019

Mexico: “new lines of investigation” in Ayotzinapa case

On the fifth anniversary of the disappearance of the 43 Ayotzinapa student teachers in Mexico, the authorities have announced that new lines of investigation will be explored, according to Al Jazeera. President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador reopened the case soon after he was elected last year. “We will make a comprehensive rethinking of the investigation, correcting the omissions, contradictions, and the lack of evidence that led to the so-called ‘historical truth’,” Undersecretary for Human Rights Alejandro Encinas said on Thursday.

Rwanda: mass grave from 1994 genocide discovered

Remains of more than 200 victims of the 1994 genocide have been discovered in a suburb of the Rwandan capital, Kigali, the New Times newspaper from Rwanda reports. Large number of the victims of this genocide, which amount to more than a million people, are still not accounted for.

Nigeria: remains of kidnap victims…

Daily World News Digest 26 September 2019

Syria: enforced disappearances and arbitrary arrests

Al Jazeera carries an interview with Hala Al Ghawi, a co-founder of the Families for Freedom organization, who speaks about enforced disappearances and arbitrary arrests in Syria, among other things urging countries meeting at the 74th session of the UN General Assembly to address this issue.

Colombia: ex-combatants acknowledge role in disappearances

In video testimony published by Colombia’s Truth Commission on Thursday, former army officer Gustavo Enrique Soto Bracamonte, former paramilitary commander José Éver Veloza (known as ‘HH’), and former FARC commander José Benito Ramírez, each acknowledged responsibility for enforced disappearances during the conflict. This is seen as a significant step in the transitional justice process in Colombia, as all three actors involved in the conflict assumed responsibility (Video in Spanish).

 Libya: human rights violations

The Voice of America reports on UN concerns over continuing widespread human rights violations in Libya….

Daily World News Digest 25 September 2019

Burundi: forced disappearances

Mass atrocities and crimes against humanity continue in Burundi, according to a newly-published report by the UN Commission of Inquiry. The Commission cited “summary executions, arbitrary arrests and detentions, acts of torture and other cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment, sexual violence, and forced disappearances.”

Yemen: hundreds missing after siege

Hundreds of families in Yemen are seeking information on the fate of relatives believed to have been either captured or killed by Houthi rebels in the Wadi Abu Jabara area in Saada province, Middle East Eye reports. “We heard a lot of rumors about our sons over the past two weeks, but it seems that no one knows the truth but God,” a mother said.

Thailand offers free DNA tests to identify deceased migrants

The authorities in Thailand have announced that DNA tests will be offered to migrant families who believe a relative has died in Thailand. The…

Daily World News Digest 24 September 2019

Spain: Supreme Court rules on exhumation

The BBC reports on the ruling by Spain’s Supreme Court that the remains of former dictator Francisco Franco should be exhumed, finding for the government, which wants to move the remains from a state mausoleum to a less controversial site – a cemetery where Franco’s wife is buried. The ruling is significant in a society still coming to terms with the legacy of the Civil War (1936-39) and its aftermath, which left 100,000 people missing.

Rally of parents of the missing Ayotzinapa students

La Prensa Latina, a news portal based in the US, reports on a rally in Iguala attended by parents of the 43 missing students from Ayotzinapa who disappeared five years ago this week. The families of the missing students are demanding a new investigation into the crime and a review of the conduct of officials who have so far been involved…

Daily World News Digest 23 September 2019

Egypt: hundreds of arrests

The Guardian reports that hundreds of Egyptian civilians have been arrested since Friday, when anti-regime protests spread across the country. Detainees have been questioned by police and officials from the national security agency. Human Rights Watch has accused both of “systematic, widespread enforced disappearances and torture” in the past.

El Salvador: more than 2,300 reported missing in 2019

El Salvador’s Attorney General has announced that more than 2,300 persons have been reported missing in the country in 2019, La Prensa Grafica reports. The paper quotes a forensic expert who notes that if a person has been missing for more than eight days “there is a high possibility they were murdered and buried in a clandestine grave” (original article in Spanish).

Bahamas: More than 1,300 missing

More than 1,300 persons are missing in the aftermath of Hurricane Dorian, which swept the Bahamas more than two weeks…

Daily World News Digest 20 September 2019

UN report: “disproportionate number of enforced disappearances”

A new UN report, covering 1 June 2018 to 31 May of this year, documents human rights violations in nearly 50 countries, including detention and imprisonment of activists. Commenting on the report, UN Assistant Secretary-General for Human Rights Andrew Gilmour highlighted “a disproportionate number of cases of enforced disappearance or detention” of activists, often on grounds of national security.

Missing Palestinians “held secretly in Syrian prisons”

The issue of enforced disappearances of Palestinian refugees in contested territories in Syria has been raised with the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) in Geneva by human rights defenders, according to the Action Group for Palestinians of Syria (AGPS). Delegates from the AGPS reported that 1,800 Palestinian refugees are being held secretly in Syrian prisons.

Mexico: “authorities addressing response to the missing persons issue”

The authorities in Mexico intend to take prompt action to address the official…

Daily World News Digest 19 September 2019

Mexico: relaunch of Ayotzinapa investigation

Mexico will open a new investigation into the September 2014 disappearance and apparent massacre of 43 student teachers from Ayotzinapa, authorities said on Wednesday. Reuters reports that President Lopez Obrador told relatives of the victims in a private meeting earlier this week that he is working on preventing the release of suspects in the case. So far 77 of 142 suspects detained have been released by courts. Investigators have only definitively identified the remains of one of the 43 missing students.

Liberia: war crimes court

Liberian President George Weah has endorsed the establishment of a war crimes court, All Africa reports. In a letter to the Liberian legislature, the President has called for implementation of recommendations published by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC), including the setting up of an Extraordinary Criminal Court for Liberia to try crimes related to the conflicts of 1989-96 and…

Daily World News Digest 18 September 2019

ICMP promotes cooperation among family networks in Croatia

ICMP organized a meeting with 30 representatives of missing persons family associations from Croatia in Zagreb on Tuesday with the participation of representatives of the Croatian Veterans Ministry’s Directorate for Detained and Missing Defenders, Total Croatia News reports. This was the second in a series of meetings organized in the Western Balkans as part of a two-year project supported by the UK government and being implemented by ICMP to renew the effort to account for 12,000 people who are still missing throughout the region.

UN Human Rights Council addresses enforced disappearances in Syria

The OHCHR reports that at the 42nd Session of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva, the Chair of the Independent International Commission of Inquiry on the Syrian Arab Republic, Paulo Sérgio Pinheiro, has highlighted “the plight of the unlawfully detained, missing and forcibly disappeared” in Syria, noting that…

ICMP Enhances Cooperation With Families of the Missing in Croatia

Zagreb, 17 September 2019: Today in Zagreb, the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) organized, with the participation of representatives of the Directorate for Detained and Missing of the Ministry of Croatian Veterans, an info-sharing meeting in Zagreb with 30 representatives of missing persons family associations from the Republic of Croatia.

This was the second in a series of meetings with families of the missing, organized to share information about the missing persons process on the territory of the former Yugoslavia. The first meeting was held with families from Bosnia and Herzegovina in January 2019.

The meetings are part of a two-year project supported by the Government of the United Kingdom and being implemented by ICMP, to renew the effort to account for 12,000 people who are still missing throughout the region. Countries in the region have formally undertaken to work together as the regional Missing Persons Group, maintaining a process…