Monthly Archives: January 2020

Daily World News Digest 20 January 2020

Missing Persons Institute urges BIH authorities to support families

Representatives of the Advisory Board of the Missing Persons Institute (MPI) of Bosnia and Herzegovina have urged the BIH authorities to implement the missing persons law, which provides for support to families of the missing, the Sarajevo Times reports. The Advisory Board members were speaking during a visit to the Headquarters of the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) in The Hague, where they were briefed on ICMP’s continuing support for BIH, including DNA-based identifications, and the pioneering use of Massively Parallel Sequencing (MPS), which can significantly increase the possibility of making identifications.

Two victims of the Srebrenica Genocide identified

Two victims of the Srebrenica Genocide whose remains were exhumed from the Liplje and Kamenica mass graves in Zvornik have been identified using DNA analysis, the Sarajevo Times reports. The paper notes that the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP)…

Implementation of the BiH Law on Missing Persons must be expedited, say members of BiH Missing Persons Institute Advisory Board

Ana Bilic, QA/QC Manager and Deputy Head of the ICMP DNA laboratory, explain techniques used to find missing persons to BiH Missing Persons Institute (MPI) Advisory Board members Fikret Bacic, Amir Kulagic and Jela Mandic during a visit to the ICMP HQ in The Hague, Netherlands, this week.

The Hague 17 January 2020: Authorities in Bosnia and Herzegovina must fully implement the provisions of the country’s missing persons law, representatives of the BiH Missing Persons Institute (MPI) Advisory Board emphasized during a visit this week to the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) headquarters in The Hague, Netherlands.

Full implementation of the Law on Missing Persons, which was created in 2004 would require the establishment of a verified BiH Central Record of Missing Persons and the creation of the BiH Fund for Families of the Missing. The Fund would provide financial support to families of the missing, regardless of the national or religious origin of the relative of the missing person, or the circumstances of the disappearance of the missing person.

“We want to work together for all victims. We want government institutions to work together and take responsibility,” said MPI Advisory Board Member Amir Kulaglic. “We have had…

Daily World News Digest 17 January 2020

South Dakota: “clearing house” for missing persons

Kelo reports that the Senate Judiciary Committee has passed a measure that would establish a missing persons clearinghouse. The bill will help to carry out the mission set by last’s year’s bill on missing and murdered indigenous persons and will also allow neighboring states to share more information with the public using a website.

Mass grave found in Panama

The BBC reports that the bodies of seven people have been found in a mass grave in an indigenous area of Panama controlled by a religious sect. The deceased include a pregnant woman and five of her children. A further 15 people were freed from alleged captivity.

UN: “staggering number” of extrajudicial killings in Colombia

The UN human rights office, OHCHR, has expressed concern over the “staggering number” of human rights activists killed in Colombia last year, UN News reports. Rights defenders advocating on behalf…

Daily World News Digest 16 January 2020

ICMP assists with identification of 1989 Central Texas shooting victim

Work by the International Commission on Missing Persons in cooperation with the DNA Doe Project and the Williamson County Texas Sheriff’s Office has enabled the identification of a woman who was found shot to death in September 1989 in Williamson County, Texas, KWTX reports. ICMP used its specialized methods for DNA extraction of highly degraded samples, and recovered enough DNA for genetic genealogy analysis to be conducted. A tentative identification of Sue Ann Huskey was made in December and was confirmed after a member of Huskey’s family provided a DNA sample.

Enforced disappearance in Bangladesh

The Daily Star from Bangladesh covers the latest Human Rights Watch report on the country, which finds that in 2019, although the government denied involvement in enforced disappearances, extrajudicial killings, torture and other violations, “security forces persisted with a long-standing pattern of covering up…

Daily World News Digest 15 January 2020

Burundi: More than 4,000 mass graves uncovered

More than 4,000 mass graves have been found in Burundi following an investigation by the country’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission into conflicts since independence in 1962, the BBC reports. The commission, set up in 2018 to shed light on ethnic tensions, says it has identified 142,505 victims. According to Commission Chairperson many more mass graves are yet to be found because people who know about them are afraid to talk or are traumatized.

Nearly 1,000 migrants “returned to Libya” this year

Aljazeera reports that almost 1,000 refugees and migrants have been intercepted at sea and returned to war-ravaged Libya already this year, according to the International Organization for Migration (IOM). IOM said most of the refugees and migrants were “disembarked in Tripoli and all were taken to detention centers”. About 4,500 people are currently held in “official” detention centers across Libya. Thousands more…

Daily World News Digest 14 January 2020

Latest figures reported for Mexico mass grave

AFP reports that the bodies of at least 29 people have been unearthed from a mass grave on a property outside Mexico’s western city of Guadalajara, in Jalisco – a state hard-hit by violence linked to organized crime, and the same area where authorities have found a total of 80 bodies since November. Nearly 2,500 murders were reported in the state between January and November last year.

Enforced disappearance, other rights violations in China

Radio Free Asia reports on the refusal by immigration authorities in Hong Kong to allow Human Rights Watch Executive Director Kenneth Roth to enter the territory on Sunday. Roth was due to present a report on China’s human rights record. “My denial of entry pales in comparison to the harassment that Chinese activists routinely endure – jail, torture, and enforced disappearance simply for trying to secure basic rights for…

Daily World News Digest 13 January 2020

Migrants missing on US border

The Guardian reports on efforts by experts and students from the Forensic Anthropology Center at Texas State University to exhume and identify the remains of migrants who have died “from exposure, thirst or illness in the wilderness” and been buried on the US-Mexico border. The project’s mission statement notes that “alarming numbers of deceased persons have been buried as ‘unknown’ without proper analysis or DNA collection, leaving no hope for identification or repatriation.” http://bit.ly/3a7BLJm

Nepal: transitional justice

Victims of the decade-long civil war in Nepal say the government is reviving the stalled transitional justice process without adequately considering the voice of victims, as consultations on relevant legislation are being held at provincial rather than village level, Aljazeera reports. More than 16,000 people were killed and about 1,400 disappeared during the conflict, which ended in 2006. http://bit.ly/36K7HS9

Migrants drown trying to reach Greece, Italy

Eleven migrants, eight…

Daily World News Digest 10 January 2020

Mexico reopens Ayotzinapa investigation

A group of independent experts will be allowed to reopen its investigation into the disappearance of 43 students from the Ayotzinapa teachers’ college in southern Mexico in 2014, AFP reports. The experts from the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IAHCR) will now be allowed to pick up where they left off when the former government refused to renew their mandate in 2016. http://bit.ly/39VG8Y6

Malta court overturns conviction for migrant rescue

A Maltese court has overturned the conviction of a Claus Peter Reisch, the German captain of a ship belonging to a group known as Mission Lifeline, a humanitarian group focused on aiding migrants, The Jurist reports. A spokesperson for Mission Lifeline told the Associated Press in a statement that the verdict shows the world that rescuing migrants is “not a criminal thing, it’s a duty.” http://bit.ly/2TaGGDj

Mexico: body parts found in Jalisco

Forensics officials in the western…

Daily World News Digest 9 January 2020

Pakistan: court rules against arbitrary detention

The Lahore High Court in Pakistan has ruled that the Defense Ministry’s 17 December detention of Advocate Inamur Rahim, a retired colonel and petitioner in multiple cases of missing persons, is against the law and has directed the authorities to release Rahim, who is being investigated for allegedly violating the Official Secrets Act, as reported by Dawn. https://bit.ly/3031QEW

Equatorial Guinea: arbitrary arrests

Amnesty International has called on the authorities in Equatorial Guinea to shed light on the fate and whereabouts of four opposition members who were reportedly abducted in South Sudan and transferred to Equatorial Guinea, where they are now being detained. Amnesty has documented cases of human rights defenders and activists facing arbitrary arrest in Equatorial Guinea or being apprehended and repatriated from neighboring countries. http://bit.ly/36D52cZ

Artificial Intelligence and missing persons

The Hindu newspaper reports on efforts to use Artificial Intelligence to trace missing persons…

Daily World News Digest 8 January 2020

Mexico: more than 61,000 missing

The Guardian reports that there are more than 61,000 missing persons in Mexico, according to new figures issued by the authorities. The figure cited by the government in January 2019 was just over 40,000. http://bit.ly/300OmcM

Libya: thousands of disappearances

Aljazeera reports on armed groups in Libya who are abducting or arresting thousands of people, leaving their families with no idea of their whereabouts. It says the uncertain military situation has raised fears of a new round of casualties and human rights abuses. http://bit.ly/2N44l4M

Venezuela: “police responsible for extrajudicial killings”

An article in Pan Am Post describes an “epidemic of police violence” and extrajudicial executions in Venezuela. It says an investigation by the Venezuelan Observatory of Violence has revealed that at least 16,506 violent deaths were recorded in 2019 with a homicide rate of 60.3 per 100,000 inhabitants. http://bit.ly/2T5Nxho

Refugee, migrant arrivals to Greece spike in…