Monthly Archives: October 2019

Daily World News Digest 31 October 2019

Egypt: wave of arrests

Deutsche Welle reports on the arrest of Egyptian journalist, blogger and human rights activist Esraa Abdel-Fattah, whose experience, it says, is representative of the Egyptian government’s policy of mass arrests since taking power in 2014. Reporters Without Borders estimates that at least 16 journalists have been arrested. It is calling for Abdel-Fattah’s immediate release, and for an end to the persecution of media professionals critical of the government. The Egyptian Commission for Rights and Freedoms says more than 4,300 people have been arrested in connection with protests that began in September.

Chile: 13 women missing since the beginning of protests

The Jujuy al Momento news portal from Argentina reports that 13 women have been reported missing since 18 October when protests in Santiago, Chile, began. Gender Equality Minister Isabel Plá has been urged to address the issue of violence against women and uphold the rights and…

Afghanistan Accedes to ICMP Treaty

The Hague, 30 October 2019: The Islamic Republic of Afghanistan has acceded to the Agreement on the Status and Functions of the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP). This makes Afghanistan the eighth country to become an ICMP State Party in addition to Chile, Cyprus, Luxembourg, Serbia, Sweden, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, and Belgium and El Salvador as Signatory States.

Since 1980, Afghanistan has experienced almost continuous conflict, which has resulted in large numbers of missing persons. ICMP stands ready to help the authorities in Afghanistan to develop an effective, impartial and long-term missing persons process.

After today’s ceremony, at which the Ambassador of Afghanistan to the Netherlands H.E. dr. Mohammad Homayoon Azizi formally deposited the instrument of accession at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands as depository of the Agreement, ICMP Director-General Kathryne Bomberger said that by becoming a State Party, Afghanistan has affirmed its commitment to…

Daily World News Digest 30 October 2019

Mexico: mass grave exhumations

A total of 42 sets of human remains have now been exhumed from a clandestine grave in the desert near the Gulf of California beach town of Puerto Penasco, the Associated Press reports. The grave was first located by volunteers from the grous, Searching Mothers of Sonora and the Searchers of Puerto Penasco.

Mexico-Guatemala: migrant’s family “received wrong human remains”

The family of a Guatemalan migrant whose remains were found in a mass grave in Tamaulipas were given the wrong body by Mexican authorities seven years ago, Mexico News Daily reports. When it discovered the mistake, the Argentinian team that worked with the authorities to identify victims in the case that involved this individual notified the office of the Attorney General. The Mexican authorities say they then notified the authorities in Guatemala, in 2016, but the error was not made public.

Bosnia and Herzegovina:…

Swedish Parliamentarians and Trade Union Leaders Visit ICMP Western Balkans Program

Sarajevo, 29 October 2019: Parliamentarians and trade unionists from Sweden visited the facilities of the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) in Bosnia and Herzegovina, today to learn more about ICMP’s work and about the missing persons issue in the Western Balkans.

The visitors were briefed on ICMP’s cross-cutting programs that help civil society networks advocate for truth, justice and the rights of families of the missing, and support legislative and institutional initiatives to sustain an impartial and effective missing persons process.

The group visited the Podrinje Identification Project (PIP), which was created to assist in the identification of persons missing from the the fall of the Srebrenica and Zepa UN Safe Areas in July 1995. With ICMP assistance, 7,000 of the 8,000 victims of the Srebrenica Genocide have been accounted for so far.

ICMP Senior Forensic Anthropologist Dragana Vucetic explained the methodical process through which human remains exhumed from mass graves…

Daily World News Digest 29 October 2019

Syria: Justice must continue for families of missing persons after the defeat of Da’esh

Following a DNA identification of remains which confirmed the death of Da’esh leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi,  the Guardian emphasized that families across Syria are still looking for missing relatives. “Isis is gone and its leader has been killed but people are still waiting to find out the fate of their children”, a Syrian citizen who helps in identifying human remains from Da’esh mass graves stated.

Colombia: Enforced disappearances of indigenous people to be integrated into the searching process of missing persons

As part of its dialogue with indigenous people, the Unit for the Search of Disappeared Persons in Colombia has developed a protocol which includes ethnic groups in the searching process, El Tiempo reports. An agreement has been made to develop a plan leading to the completion of a national census of missing indigenous persons, which…

Iraqi Minister for Foreign Affairs Visits ICMP Headquarters in The Hague


The Hague, 28 October 2019: The International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) stands ready to enhance its support for Iraq’s efforts to address the country’s huge issue of missing persons in an effective and impartial way, ICMP Director-General Kathryne Bomberger said today.

Ms Bomberger was speaking during a visit by Iraqi Foreign Minister Mohamed Ali Alhakim to ICMP’s Headquarters in The Hague. Foreign Minister Alhakim was accompanied by Iraq’s Ambassador to the Netherlands Hisham Al-Alawi and senior officials.

Director-General Bomberger said she hoped it will be possible to finalize and implement a Memorandum of Understanding between ICMP and the Iraqi Ministry of Foreign Affairs as soon as possible so that ICMP can step up the support it has already been providing to Iraq for more than a decade.

“ICMP’s goal is to help Iraq establish a sustainable process to find all missing persons, regardless of their ethnic, religious or national origin,’ Ms…

Daily World News Digest 28 October 2019

Mexico: mass grave close to US border

After an initial discovery of 12 sets of human remains, 15 more bodies have been found in a mass grave near Puerto Penasco in the Mexican state of Sonora, just south of the border with the US state of Arizona, the International Business Times reports. The special investigation group that found the grave consists of relatives of missing persons.

Central America & Mexico: forensic database of missing migrants

Since 2010 the Argentine Forensic Anthropology Team has identified 200 migrants who disappeared and died while trying to reach the US, through a network of forensic databases in Central America and Mexico, Primera Edicion reports. The project has documented 1,957 cases by bringing authorities and civil society together (Original article in Spanish).

Bosnia and Herzegovina: more wartime victims identified

Ten wartime victims whose remains were exhumed from Mount Igman near Sarajevo on 5 June have…

Daily World News Digest 25 October 2019

Pakistan: “thousands of detainees could be freed

A recent ruling by a provincial high court in Pakistan could prompt the authorities to release or present to courts thousands of victims of forced disappearances, according to an article carried by the Gandhara news portal, which focuses on Afghanistan and Pakistan. It notes that people detained in Pakistan on suspicion of “anti-state” activities are rarely brought to court. Although some detainees have been released following legal action or protests, “thousands remain missing”, a situation that may now change.

Spain: “the second country in the world with most disappearances”

Spain’s Deputy Prime Minister, Carmen Calvo, said this week that the present situation regarding those who went missing as a result of the 1936-30 Civil War is “intolerable for a full democracy like ours”, El Independente reports. She was speaking on the occasion of the transfer of the body of former dictator Francisco Franco…

ICMP Assists Iraqi National Team In Successful Data Collection Campaign in Dohuk  

Baghdad, 24 October 2019: The Iraqi National Team with the support of the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) has completed a Data and Reference Sample Collection campaign in Qadiya Camp for internally displaced persons, in Duhok, northern Iraq 

A large number of people living in the camp belong to the Yezidi community from the Sinjar area of northern Iraq, which was overrun by Da’esh in 2014.  

During the campaign, blood reference samples were collected from relatives of the missing, and new missing person cases were reported. The National Team crossedchecked information on more than 400 missing persons, which may now be used as part of the process of identifying human remains that were exhumed in July and August from mass graves in the village of Kocho in Sinjar.  It is hoped that the…

Daily World News Digest 24 October 2019

Commemorating victims of the Spanish Civil War

The BBC reports on issues related to the exhumation of the human remains of former Spanish dictator Francisco Franco, including work now underway across Spain to exhume and identify victims buried in clandestine graves during and after the 1936-39 Civil War.  A 1977 Amnesty Law prevents any criminal investigation into the Franco years, while a 2007 Historical Memory Law recognizes victims on both sides and provides some help for surviving victims of Franco’s dictatorship and their families. More than 100,000 victims of the conflict, and the repression carried out afterwards, are still missing.

Mexico: President reaffirms commitment to accounting for the missing

El Nuevo herald reports on a ceremony this week in the Mexican Senate, to confer an award on 92-year-old human rights activist Rosario Ibarra de Piedra, who reacted by symbolically presenting the award to President Andrés Manuel López Obrador with the…