Tulsa in April to Excavate Cemetery in Search for 1921 Massacre Graves
The New York Times reports on the decision by Mayor G.T. Bynum of Tulsa, Oklahoma, to begin excavations at a site where victims of a 1921 massacre of African-Americans may be buried. A local lawyer and newspaper publisher said that for years citizens have been asking city leaders to do this: “The fact that our mayor is doing it when requests have been made of other mayors, the fact that he’s taking it seriously and making an effort . . . is something I think is very important rather than ignoring and trying to bury the memory.”
Kashmir: campaigner for the disappeared
The UrduPoint news portal from Pakistan has published a profile of Perveena Ahangar, a 51-year old activist who campaigns in support of efforts to account for those who have gone missing in Kashmir. Perveena’s teenage son…
Missing Nigerian activist
Premium Times reports on the case of social media activist Abubakar Idris, who was abducted from his home in Kaduna State in northern Nigeria on 2 August 2019 and is still missing. Among other things, the article notes that since Nigeria does not have a national missing persons database, accounting for missing citizens “is at best a daunting task”.
Deportees to El Salvador go missing
In a report published today, Human Rights Watch says that migrants deported to El Salvador from the US are at risk of abuse and death. HRW cites more than 70 instances where deportees have been subjected to sexual violence, torture, or other harm, or have gone missing following their return.
US: Colorado Missing Persons Day
The US state of Colorado has marked its fifth Missing Persons Day, the Denver Channel reports. The names of more than 500 missing persons were read out…
Western Balkans: accounting for those who are still missing
At a meeting of the regional Missing Persons Group (MPG), representatives of institutions responsible for this issue in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Kosovo, Montenegro and Serbia “made key decisions on joint activities in 2020” that will contribute to accounting for those who are still missing from the conflicts of the 1990s, Portal Analitika reports. The MPG is supported by the International Commission on Missing Persons, as part of a UK-funded regional program (Original article in B/C/S).
Kenya: mortuaries address issue of unidentified human remains
All Africa reports on the rising number of unidentified human remains being stored at mortuaries in the Kenyan capital, Nairobi. It says 65 out of 108 bodies currently stored at two mortuaries in the city have not yet been identified. The local authorities are urging families of missing persons to come forward and help in the identification…
Kenya: national park a “mass grave”
Victims of enforced disappearance and extrajudicial killings in Kwale County on Kenya’s southeastern coast, have been found in the Tsavo West National Park, the Star from Kenya reports. It says eight sets of human remains have been found at the park and transferred to a mortuary by family members and officials of the Haki Africa and Human Development Agenda lobby groups.
Thailand: law on enforced disappearance
The Bangkok Post reports on a renewed effort by civil society groups in Thailand to support a bill on the Prevention and Suppression of Torture and Enforced Disappearances. Although Thailand signed the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance in 2012, it has not yet ratified the agreement and enforced it in law.
Arizona: missing Indigenous men
The Columbian reports on growing efforts in Arizona to highlight the issue of missing indigenous men and to…
Priština 31 January 2020: At a meeting of the Missing Persons Group (MPG) this week, representatives for institutions responsible for missing persons issues in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Kosovo, Montenegro and Serbia made key decisions on joint activities in 2020 that will contribute to accounting for persons who are still missing as a result of the 1990s conflicts in former Yugoslavia.
The decisions MPG made at the 30 January meeting in Priština, convened by the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP), include:
- A series of bilateral meetings will be held to prioritise joint reconnaissance and excavation of potential locations of mass graves in 2020.
- MPG members will liaise with ICMP regarding forensic examination and biological sampling of NN (unidentified) cases of human remains in order to facilitate DNA analysis for the purpose of identification of missing persons.
- MPG will jointly mark the 2020 International Day of the Disappeared and issue…
Mexico: activist’s body found
CNN reports that the body of missing Mexican conservationist and activist Homero Gomez Gonzalez has been found in a well in Ocampo, Michoacán. Gomez had been missing since 13 January. Mexico’s President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador described Gomez’s death as “lamentable and painful”. The country’s Human Rights Commission said Gomez may have come into conflict with illegal loggers while carrying out his conservation work.
Mexico: accounting for the missing is “a moral issue”
The National Catholic Reporter explores the “moral issue” of accounting for more than 61,000 missing persons in Mexico. Ameglio Patella, a professor at Mexico City’s National Autonomous University, stresses that, “It is critical that we not leave the families and their organizations on their own”.
Ethiopians protest abduction of students
Ethiopians have taken to the streets and social networks to protest the failure of their government to find at least a dozen university students…
Spain: Civil War victims exhumed and identified
The human remains of four men killed in Majorca at the beginning of the Spanish Civil War have been exhumed and identified, according to the Majorca Daily Bulletin. The bodies were found in mass graves in two different areas on the island two years ago, and DNA analysis confirmed their identities.
US: accounting for missing servicemen and women
KTNV carries an article on the work of the US Defense Department’s POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA). The DPAA searches for servicemen and women missing in conflict and works with families of the missing on DNA identification and other issues. Last year 217 persons were found and identified, 75 percent of whom were former unknown soldiers.
Amnesty: critical report on Sri Lanka
Amnesty International has criticized the authorities in Sri Lanka over “unrealized government commitments to pursue truth, justice and reparations,” and “continued impunity for violations and…
Burundi: 4,000 memories
Reuters reports from Burundi on the excavation of one of the thousands of mass graves that have been identified. The article questions whether Burundi’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission, which is mandated to investigate abuses from colonial times up until 2008, will hold anyone accountable for the killings conducted in the country’s past.
2019: deadliest year for migrants in the Americas
UN News reports that the International Organization for Migration recorded the highest ever number of migration-related fatalities crossing the US-Mexican border in 2019. Nearly 2,500 deaths have been recorded in the last six years, with 497 in 2019. A further 171 deaths were reported in the Arizona desert in 2019, a significant rise over the figure for the previous year.
Mexico: collaboration on identifying missing persons
The authorities in Mexico are exploring further international collaboration on efforts to account for missing persons, Radio Zocalo reports. Karla Quintana of…
Auschwitz: memorializing victims buried in mass graves
On the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz, TIME Magazine carries an essay examining the memorialization of victims. “For families whose members have survived genocide or other forms of mass murder, remembrance is private and visceral. They often have no body to bury or cremate,” the author writes, before describing a family tragedy and “a small act of ingenious commemoration”.
Missing Indigenous women and girls in the US
The Detroit Lake Tribune news portal carries a comprehensive review of efforts by state governments in the US to address the issue of missing Indigenous women and girls. A wave of Indigenous elected officials entering state and federal office has shone a spotlight on the issue, though indigenous representation in legislatures remains disproportionately small, the article says.
Cambodia: the search for truth, 40 years on
ABC News reports from Cambodia on a survivor’s search…
Identifying deceased migrants in Texas
The Dallas Morning News reports on efforts to identify migrants from Central and South America who have died trying to enter the United States. The International Organization for Migration says 405 migrants died on the US side of the border in 2019, with 91 migration-related deaths reported on the Mexican side. Since 2014, at least 1,750 migrants have died in the border region, half in Texas, “surpassing Arizona, whose blistering terrain was once the leading death trap”.
Thailand: “impunity for enforced disappearance”
AFP reports that a Thai park official implicated in the alleged killing of an environmental activist will not face prosecution for murder due to “insufficient evidence” – a move condemned by rights groups decrying impunity for enforced disappearances. Ethnic Karen leader Por Cha Lee Rakcharoen vanished in April 2014 while he was working on a lawsuit accusing officials of destroying homes of ethnic…