Yearly Archives: 2020

Daily World News Digest 20 February 2020

Lawyer recognized for documenting arbitrary arrest in Yemen

France 24 reports that Huda Al-Sarari, a lawyer who exposed a network of secret prisons in war-ravaged Yemen, where thousands of men and boys were arbitrarily held and tortured, has been named as the recipient of the prestigious human rights prize, the Martin Ennals Award.

Iraq: mass grave of Da’esh victims

Rudaw news agency reports on a sinkhole found in Nineveh in northern Iraq that is believed to contain almost 1,000 bodies. “The pit contains at least 1,000 bodies. They had even dumped victims into the mass grave while they were still alive,” a local official said.

Pattern of enforced disappearances in South Sudan

Human Rights Watch has called for the urgent reform of South Sudan’s National Security Service. It says the country’s Human Rights Commission and others have documented “a pattern of arbitrary arrests and detentions, torture, and enforced disappearances”, by…

Daily World News Digest 19 February 2020

Nepal: Commission on Enforced Disappearance resumes work

The MyRepublica news portal from Nepal reports that the country’s Commission of Investigation on Enforced Disappeared Persons (CIEDP) has resumed work, following a disruption caused by the retirement of previous commissioners in April 2019. A CIEDP spokesperson said the new Commissioners “will revisit files” that have already been prepared as well as initiating new investigations. He said an additional “DNA testing committee” has been formed.

Colombia: missing children

According to LAFM, Colombia’s Unit for the Search of Persons reported as Disappeared (UBPD) says it has received 163 requests to search for children and adolescents who were allegedly recruited into the internal armed conflict in different regions of the country (Original article in Spanish).

Colombia: human remains found

Elespectador reports on the discovery of unidentified human remains at a mass grave in Antioquia in northwestern Colombia, bringing the total number of victims found…

Daily World News Digest 18 February 2020

Enforced disappearances in the MENA region

Amnesty International’s latest report on human rights in the Middle East and North Africa has found, among other things, “widespread patterns of violations by security forces in the context of the criminal justice system, including torture and other ill-treatment and enforced disappearances, most notably in Egypt, Iran, Libya, Saudi Arabia and Syria.”

Syria: mass grave found east of Damascus

The Syrian government says a mass grave containing around 70 sets of human remains has been found in Duma, east of Damascus, in an area that was controlled by armed anti-regime groups until April 2018, ANSA Med reports. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says the bodies found are those of civilians and government soldiers.

Malta: migrant rescue

The Times of Malta reports on operations by the Maltese navy in a situation characterized by large numbers of unseaworthy migrant vessels. Following the rescue of…

Daily World News Digest 17 February 2020

Burundi: mass graves

Burundi’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission says more than 6,000 sets of human remains have been found in six mass graves in the central province of Karusi, the largest finding since the government launched a nationwide excavation in January, Reuters reports. Clothing and personal belongings have been used to identify some victims.

Malaysia: inquiry on missing couple begins

The Sun newspaper from Malaysia reports that more than three years after the disappearance of Joshua and Ruth Hilmy a public inquiry is set to begin in Kuala Lumpur under the auspices of the country’s Human Rights Commission. The inquiry will seek to determine if the couple were victims of enforced disappearance and if the police investigation has been adequate. In two similar recent cases, the HRC concluded that police were responsible for the disappearances.

Sri Lanka: threats to families of the disappeared

Sri Lankan security officials “have intensified surveillance and threats…

Daily World News Digest 14 February 2020

Families of the missing in the Western Balkans

The Balkan Investigative Reporting Network (BIRN) has launched a campaign to tell the stories of families who are still waiting to discover the fate of loved ones who went missing during the violent breakup of former Yugoslavia. Through the efforts of the ICMP and other organizations, more than 70 percent of the 40,000 missing have been accounted for, but families still struggle to access their right to truth, justice and reparation.

Ukraine: Steps to take for peace

An opinion piece in the EU Observer examines prospects for peace in Ukraine. The authors call for the International Commission on Missing Persons and the ICRC to be granted “full access and cooperation by local and national authorities in their essential work”.

Montenegro and BIH address missing persons issue

The Anadolu Agency (AA) reports on steps being taken by Bosnia and Herzegovina and Montenegro to…

Daily World News Digest 13 February 2020

Malaysia: missing pastor’s wife to sue police

Free Malaysia Today reports that Susanna Liew is to take legal action against the authorities in Malaysia in connection with the disappearance, on 13 February 2017, of her husband, Pastor Raymond Koh. This follows a suit filed four months ago by Norhayati Mohd Ariffin, the wife of activist Amri Che Mat, who has been missing since December 2016. Both men have been declared victims of enforced disappearance by the Malaysian Human Rights Commission, which says they were abducted by police.

Mexico: missing persons search commission in Sonora

Arizona Public Media reports that the Mexican state of Sonora has established a commission to supervise the search for missing persons. Data released by the National Search Commission shows that the state has more than 2,000 missing or disappeared people. Ninety clandestine graves with more than 140 bodies were found in Sonora in 2019, the fourth-highest…

Daily World News Digest 12 February 2020

Rohingya migrants missing in Bay of Bengal

At least 15 Rohingya migrants have died and dozens are missing after a trawler carrying them to Malaysia capsized in the Bay of Bengal, the Dhaka Tribune reports. Large numbers of Rohingya refugees from Myanmar have sought shelter in Bangladesh. However, the paper notes that many refugees, mostly women and children, have been lured abroad in dangerous conditions by traffickers.

Amber Alert: accounting for missing children in the US

ABC News 4 reports on the Amber Alert system, which has helped to locate 967 children in the US since it was inaugurated in 1996. In 2018, the system was directly related to successful recovery in 71 percent of family abductions and 25 percent of non-family abductions.

Activists detained in Egypt

Human Rights Watch reports on the detention earlier this month of Patrick George Zaki, a researcher with the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights…

Daily World News Digest 11 February 2020

Syria: enforced disappearances by Da’esh

Human Rights Watch has released a 57-page report highlighting 27 cases of enforced disappearance under Da’esh in Syria. HRW is urging the Syrian authorities to prioritize the effort to account for the missing and protect mass graves, and share information with families of the missing.

Bangladesh: extrajudicial killings

New Age Bangladesh reports that the human rights organization Odhikar has documented 391 extrajudicial killings in 2019. Despite “extrajudicial killings, enforced disappearances, torture, and violation of freedom of expression and assembly,” it says the country’s National Human Rights Commission has failed to address these grave human rights violations.

UN Working Group examines enforced disappearances

MENA FN reports on the UN Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances meeting in Geneva this week. It notes that more than 530 cases of enforced disappearance from 32 countries will be examined.

Spanish vessels rescue 119 migrants; 67 still missing


Daily World News Digest 10 February 2020

Disappearances of activists in the Philippines

The Philippine Commission on Human Rights (CHR) has highlighted an “alarming number of attacks on human rights defenders” in the form of enforced disappearances, extrajudicial killings, defamation, criminalization and illegal detention, the Manila Times reports. The CHR has called on the authorities “to cease stigmatization” of activists.

Kenya: enforced disappearances

Standard Media reports on efforts to identify human remains of people believed to have been victims of extrajudicial killings in southeastern Kenya. Describing systemic rights violations in the country, the article notes that Human Rights Watch documented 21 extrajudicial killings in two suburbs of the capital, Nairobi, in 2018.

Mali: extrajudicial killings

Human Rights Watch reports 456 civilian deaths in Mali between January and November 2019 as a result of extrajudicial killings “ranging from organized village massacres, selective execution based on ethnicity, kidnapping, blowing up and burning people alive”.

Amherst, NY: reburial of unidentified remains…

Daily World News Digest 7 February 2020

El Salvador: victims of 1982 massacre identified

Human remains of victims of a 1982 massacre have been returned to families in El Salvador following identification by the country’s forensic institute, Infosurhoy reports. More than 200 rural residents, mostly women and children and the elderly, were killed by soldiers in August 1982 at a place in San Vicente Department in central El Salvador known as “the Dungeon”, El Calabozo.

Mexico: killing of activists

In an interview with Public Radio International, the director of Amnesty International Americas, Erika Guevara Rosas, says the killing of environmental activists in Mexico has been “normalized”. Noting that in 2019, Amnesty documented that at least 12 environmental defenders were killed in different parts of the country, she said “impunity remains the norm”.

Srebrenica: remembering victims through new exhibition

Radio Free Europe reports on an initiative to gather personal items from family members of the more than 8,000…