Yearly Archives: 2019

Daily World News Digest, 9 April 2019

Tanzania: journalist’s disappearance still unsolved

More than 500 days after the disappearance of journalist Azory Gwanda in Tanzania, his whereabouts are still unknown, Human Rights Watch reports. According to Gwanda’s wife, Anna Pinoni, he was picked up from his home in November 2017 in a period when he was covering human rights violations in Pwani region, south of Dar es Salaam. The government’s response to Gwanda’s disappearance has been inadequate, HRW says, “raising questions about its true commitment to finding answers”.

Mexico: UN to assist in investigating Ayotzinapa disappearances

Under an agreement signed by Mexico’s Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard and UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet on Monday, the UNHCHR will collaborate with Mexico’s Presidential Commission for Truth and Access to Justice on the investigation into to the disappearance of 43 Ayotzinapa students in 2014, France 24 reports (original article in Spanish).

Croatia: newspaper campaign to…

Daily World News Digest, 8 April 2019

Guatemala: Proposed amnesty criticized

Activists have warned that a bill ostensibly designed to address prison overcrowding in Guatemala actually amounts to a “back-door amnesty” for those convicted of human rights violations, the Washington Post reports, including those responsible for a 1982 massacre in the village of Pambach, one of the largest cases of enforced disappearance in Latin America.

Iraq: mass graves in Sinjar

Local residents and authorities in the town of Solagh in Sinjar District, Iraq, have discovered seven mass graves that contain tens of victims executed by Da’esh in 2014, KirkukNow reports. It is estimated that all the mass graves contain 75 bodies. The local authorities have asked the Iraqi Government and international organizations to arrange speedy exhumation (Original article in Kurdish).

Mexico: families of the missing highlight limitations of government resources

In a meeting with UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet, concerns raised by civil…

Daily World News Digest, 5 April 2019

ICMP highlights obligations of states in missing persons cases

The HaoTags news portal from Ghana reports on a visit by journalists from West Africa to the Headquarters of the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) in The Hague. In its presentation, ICMP highlighted the right of citizens to an effective investigation, and the obligation of states to carry out such investigations. The article relates this to three missing persons cases in Ghana.

Identifying Rwandan genocide victims

On the eve of the 25th anniversary of the Rwandan genocide, the Daily Mirror from the UK reports that bodies of victims are still being discovered in Kicukiro district of the capital Kigali. The remains of some 62,000 victims have been exhumed and since there is no DNA system, identification is done via the traditional method of recognizing the artefacts found in mass graves.

Migrant rescue vessel denied safe port by Italy and…

Daily World News Digest, 4 April 2019

Syria: Rapid Response Team tackles mass graves

Wired reports on the Rapid Response Team that has formed in the northeast Syrian city of Raqqa to help locate and identify human remains buried in mass graves. The group is using social media to gather information on possible gravesites and making identifications on the basis of clothing and accessories.

Mexico: draft bill on missing persons

The Justice Commission of the Chamber of Deputies in Mexico has approved legislative amendments that would facilitate the investigative capacity of the National Search Commission for Missing Persons, the Excelsior newspaper reports (Original article in Spanish).

50 migrants still missing off Libyan coast

The search for 50 migrants is ongoing after the Sea Watch rescue vessel picked up 67 migrants off Libya. Aljazeera reports that the Sea Watch has been searching for 50 migrants off the coast since Monday but has yet not been able to locate…

Daily World News Digest, 3 April 2019

Sweden supports ICMP in Bosnia and Herzegovina

The Swedish government will provide the International Commission on Missing Persons with additional funds to implement its program in Bosnia and Herzegovina, the FENA news agency reports. ICMP is helping the authorities to address the issue of unidentified remains held in BIH mortuaries. It is also providing Forensic Anthropology and Archaeology assistance, while ensuring that Bosnia and Herzegovina continues to have access to ICMP’s DNA testing and matching technology for human identification.

Spain: identifying Civil War victims

The authorities in Spain estimate that just six percent of the 114,000 unidentified Civil War victims buried in mass graves can be identified, the Ok Diario news portal reports. The article states that locating graves and securing access is a challenge, as is the deterioration of human remains as a result of exposure to the elements (original article in Spanish).

Syria: arbitrary arrests and enforced…

Sweden Supports ICMP in Bosnia and Herzegovina

Sarajevo, 2 April 2019: The International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) and the Embassy of Sweden in Sarajevo have signed an agreement under which Sweden will provide an additional 100.000 Euros to support ICMP’s program in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Including this additional funding, since 2002 Sweden has provided 23.000.000 SEK to support ICMP’s work in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

“This new grant is part of Sweden’s long-term assistance for ICMP’s contribution to Bosnia and Herzegovina’s effort to account for the missing and to uphold the rights of survivors,” Marie Bergstrom, the Head of Development Cooperation at the Embassy of Sweden, said today. “Accounting for those who are still missing is a crucial element in maintaining peace and stability. ICMP provides the authorities with targeted and effective assistance and this is why Sweden is supporting its program in Bosnia and Herzegovina.”

Matthew Holliday, the Head of ICMP’s Western Balkans Program, thanked the Swedish…

Daily World News Digest, 2 April 2019

Spanish Civil War unidentified victims reburied after 80 years

The Associated Press reports that the remains of 46 unidentified victims of the Spanish Civil War have been reburied in the city of Pamplona, Spain. Those buried on Monday had been exhumed from mass graves by relatives’ associations with local governments’ funding. DNA tests are still inconclusive. Spain’s Socialist government has promised a national plan to carry out exhumations if they stay in power in an election later this month.

Mexico: Jalisco state authorities discuss legislation on missing persons

Members of congress in the state of Jalisco in western Mexico will this week discuss legislation designed to establish institutional mechanisms to address the issue of missing persons and enforced disappearances in the state, where more than 6,000 people have been reported missing (original article in Spanish).

More than 1,000 refugee children vanish from Dutch centers in five years

A full…

Daily World News Digest, 1 April 2019

Iraq: exhumations to continue in Sinjar

Relief Web reports that UNITAD (the UN Investigative Team for the Promotion of Accountability for Crimes Committed by Da’esh) will continue to support the Government of Iraq’s team throughout April at exhumations being carried out in the Sinjar region by the Mass Graves Directorate (part of the Martyrs’ Foundation) and the Medico Legal Directorate (under the Ministry of Health). The work will be coordinated with the assistance of the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP), with which UNITAD has signed a Memorandum of Understanding.

4,247 enforced disappeared in Raqqa

The Syrian Network for Human Rights has published a report on enforced disappearance in Raqqa since the start of the Syrian conflict. It says 4,247 civilians have been disappeared in the city, mostly by Da’esh and the Syrian Regime. The report calls for international assistance for local teams that are trying to address the…

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…