Yearly Archives: 2019

Daily World News Digest, 22 February 2019

Syria: new mass grave found near Raqqa

A mass grave holding an estimated 3,500 people has been found outside the Syrian city of Raqqa, the Rudaw news agency from Kurdistan, Iraq, reports. It says this is the biggest mass grave of Da’esh victims that has been discovered in Syria so far. Eight other mass graves have already been found around Raqqa, and local civil defense sources say 560 of 3,800 bodies have been identified and handed over to families for burial.

Philippines: rights groups call for Senator’s release

Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International and FORUM-ASIA have issued a statement calling on the Philippine government to “drop the politically-motivated charges against Senator Leila de Lima. Senator de Lima, a prominent critic of President Rodrigo Duterte’s “war on drugs,” has been detained in the headquarters of the Philippine National Police since 24 February 2017.

Central African Republic: call for war crimes…

An Effective Approach To the Issue of Missing Migrants

The Hague, 21 February 2019: At a workshop organized in Malta today by the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP), in cooperation with Missing People UK, participants noted that states in the Mediterranean have the means to account for large numbers of missing migrants and refugees, and can do this effectively if they adopt a pragmatic and systematic approach.

The workshop, entitled “Accounting for the Missing Is an Investment in Peace”, included testimony from individuals who have travelled on migration routes and who have experienced at first hand the disappearance of a loved one on their journey. It was part of the “Lost in Migration” conference organized by the President’s Foundation for the Well-being of Society and the NGO Missing Children Europe.

“Families of the missing are always the center, and often at the forefront of the process of accounting for missing persons, and…

Daily World News Digest, 21 February 2019

DR Congo: police accused of enforced disappearances

Human Rights Watch has accused security forces in the Democratic Republic of Congo of killing at least 27 young men and boys and forcibly disappearing seven others during an anti-crime campaign between May and September 2018. It says that, “police officers, often wearing civilian clothes, apprehended without warrant suspected gang members at night from their homes or other locations. In many cases, the police blindfolded and bound the victims, took them to unidentified locations, and killed them.

Syrian officials face prosecution in Sweden

The European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights, which works to assist survivors of torture in Syria, says nine Syrians have filed a criminal complaint in Sweden against senior officials of the Damascus government, the New York Times reports. The complaint in Sweden follows similar moves taken in several European countries.

South Sudan: enforced disappearances

The Commission on Human…

Daily World News Digest, 20 February 2019

Yezidi survivors wait to learn the fate of missing relatives

Reuters reports on the experience of Yezidis who lost loved ones during and after the 2014 Da’esh attack on their villages in Iraq. More than 3,000 Yezidis were killed in an onslaught that the UN described as genocidal. Survivors wait to learn the fate of family members ahead of the opening of mass and clandestine graves.

Indonesia: mass grave from 2004 Boxing Day tsunami

A mass grave containing the remains of hundreds of 2004 Boxing Day tsunami victims has been unearthed in northwest Sumatra in Indonesia, the Daily Mail reports. The burial site was found during an inspection of land prior to construction work, and local citizens believe there are hundreds of burial sites in the area that were not clearly marked. The Boxing Day tsunami in 2004 killed more than 230,000 people.

Philippines: new legal definition of…

Daily World News Digest, 19 February 2019

Accounting for the missing is an investment in peace

The Mediterranean remains the scene of daily tragedies, even if a reduction in the number of migrants reaching Europe has resulted in less media coverage, ICMP Director-General Kathryne Bomberger wrote in The Times of Malta today. She noted that, “while fewer refugees have tried to make the journey, fatalities and disappearances have continued,” and she highlighted “an urgent need to mobilize existing capacities among European countries such as Cyprus, Greece, Malta and Italy”. She expressed confidence that “through cooperation and coordination, European countries can tackle this problem quickly and effectively.”

Brazil: HRW calls for independent investigation of extrajudicial killings

Human Rights Watch has urged the authorities in Brazil to investigate allegations that one or more police snipers killed at least two people in a poor neighborhood of Rio de Janeiro in late January, 2019. Police killed 1,530 people in 2018 in…

Accounting for the Missing Is an Investment in Peace

The Hague, 19 February 2019: The Mediterranean remains the scene of daily tragedies, even if the reduction in the number of migrants reaching Europe has reduced media coverage of these tragedies, the Director-General of the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP), Kathryne Bomberger, wrote in an opinion piece that appeared in The Times of Malta today.

She noted that, “while fewer refugees have tried to make the journey, fatalities and disappearances have continued. In the first month of 2019, the number was already well into the hundreds,” and she added that refugees and migrants sent back to embarkation ports, many of them in Libya, have routinely been subject to arbitrary detention.

Ms Bomberger highlighted “an urgent need to mobilize existing capacities among European countries such as Cyprus, Greece, Malta and Italy”. She pointed out that all four countries expressed a strong interest during an ICMP meeting held in Rome in June…

Daily World News Digest, 18 February 2019

Philippines: NGO protests delisting of 625 enforced disappearance cases

The NGO Families of Victims of Involuntary Disappearance (FIND) has criticized the Philippine government’s plan to delist 625 cases of Filipinos who were disappeared from 1975 to 2012, GMA News from the Philippines reports. FIND says the government’s plan is “an attempt to sweep the hapless victims of involuntary disappearance under the rug”.

ICMP: Srebrenica Genocide is established historical fact

Following an announcement by the government of Republika Srpska, one of two Entities in Bosnia and Herzegovina, that it is establishing commissions to investigate events in and around Srebrenica and in Sarajevo during the war, N1 News reports that ICMP has expressed its full support for all efforts that can lead to more information in respect of missing persons, but there can be no revisionism of the established facts regarding genocide in Srebrenica. (article in B/C/S).

UN: missing persons issue…

Srebrenica: No Room for Revisionism

The Hague, 15 February: In August 2018, the Republika Srpska (RS) National Assembly annulled the “Report of the Commission for Investigation of the Events in and around Srebrenica between 10 and 19 July 1995”, which had been produced for the RS Government in 2004. The current RS Government has now announced the setting up of two new commissions to investigate events in and around Srebrenica and in Sarajevo during the conflict in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

For more than two decades, the International Commission on Missing persons (ICMP) has led the effort to account for those who went missing during the conflict and to uphold the rights of families of the missing to truth, justice and reparations, regardless of national, ethnic or religious affiliation. The facts established by the RS Government Report 15 years ago have been confirmed by international and domestic criminal courts, and they are supported by systematic forensic…

ICMP Charts Future Path with Iraqi Authorities

The Hague, 15 February 2019: Representatives of the Iraqi institutions dealing with the issue of missing persons met throughout this week at the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) Headquarters in The Hague to examine ways in which ICMP can help Iraq to account for hundreds of thousands of missing people, including those who have gone missing as a result of Da’esh crimes.

The meeting concluded with a set of recommendations on concrete steps through which ICMP can assist the authorities of Iraq during 2019 and beyond. These recommendations respond to a set of challenges defined in “Mass Graves in Iraq” a document produced by the Department of Protection and Mass Graves Affairs of the Martyrs’ Foundation.

In Iraq, between 250,000 and one million people have gone missing from decades of conflict and human rights abuse. Iraq has taken very positive steps to address…

Daily World News Digest, 15 February 2019

Philippines to delist enforced disappearance cases

The Philstar news portal reports that the Philippine government intends to delist more than 600 cases of enforced and involuntary disappearances that occurred from 1975 to 2012, as part of its engagement with the UN Working Group on Enforced and Involuntary Disappearances. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs says the process of clarifying these cases is supported by and runs parallel to mechanisms established by the Anti-Enforced or Involuntary Disappearance Law of 2012. It says the government will continue to assist families of the disappeared.

Syria: mass grave found near Raqqa

Around 150 sets of human remains have been found near the former Da’esh capital in Syria, Raqqa. ANSA MED also reports that a mass grave has been discovered with more than 1,000 bodies that have not yet been exhumed.

Sri Lanka: DNA of families to be tested

Sri Lanka’s Office on Missing Persons…