Myanmar ordered to prevent further attacks on Rohingya
The Guardian reports on the International Court of Justice (ICJ) ruling, ordering the government of Myanmar to prevent genocidal violence against the country’s Rohingya minority and preserve evidence of past attacks. The ICJ ordered Myanmar to take emergency, “provisional” measures in line with requirements of the 1948 genocide convention. The Myanmar military is accused of carrying out a campaign of enforced disappearances, torture and extrajudicial executions against civilians in the country’s western Rakhine State.
Kosovo: massacre survivors await justice
Balkan Insight reports from Kosovo, where witnesses of massacres perpetrated during the 1998-99 conflict have died without ever being called to testify in court. David Tolbert, director of the International Center for Transitional Justice, said “it is worth overturning all the stones” since, in the absence of eyewitnesses, orders recorded in writing or captured by intercepts “could be strong evidence to support a prosecution”….
Egypt: minister ordered to reveal whereabouts of missing ex-MP
An Egyptian court has ordered the country’s interior minister to reveal the whereabouts of a missing former parliamentarian believed to be in state custody, AFP reports. Mostafa al-Naggar, a key figure in the 2011 revolution, was reported missing in September 2018.
Extrajudicial killings in Bangladesh
Human Rights Watch reports that in Bangladesh, government critics “fear they may be next in line to be killed or forcibly disappeared by security forces”. It says there were more than 300 extrajudicial executions in 2019 “and not one member of the security forces was held accountable”.
Venezuela: “members of parliament disappearing”
Reuters reports on the detention of Venezuelan opposition legislator Gilber Caro since 20 December, when the Special Action Force (FAES) took him into custody. His lawyer argues that this was illegal, as Caro is protected by parliamentary immunity. On Tuesday, the Popular Will party said…
Sri Lanka to classify conflict missing persons as deceased
Sri Lanka President Gotabaya Rajapaksa says tens of thousands of people missing from the country’s civil war, which ended in 2009, will be formally declared dead, and death certificates will be issued, the Associated Press reports. An Office on Missing Persons, established in 2015, has been investigating 23,586 cases, including those of 5,000 members of the security forces. It is unclear how the government reached the conclusion that all missing persons are dead.
Missing Indigenous women in the US
The New York Times carries a report on the issue of missing Indigenous women in the United States. Last year, 5,590 Indigenous women were reported missing to the FBI’s National Crime Information Center, but advocates say the staggeringly high rates of violence suffered by Indigenous people are still not fully reflected in official accounting.
Panama begins exhuming a mass grave from 1989
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)…
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…
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…
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…
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…
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…
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…