Posts Categorized: Daily Digest

Daily World News Digest 29 October 2019

Syria: Justice must continue for families of missing persons after the defeat of Da’esh

Following a DNA identification of remains which confirmed the death of Da’esh leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi,  the Guardian emphasized that families across Syria are still looking for missing relatives. “Isis is gone and its leader has been killed but people are still waiting to find out the fate of their children”, a Syrian citizen who helps in identifying human remains from Da’esh mass graves stated.

Colombia: Enforced disappearances of indigenous people to be integrated into the searching process of missing persons

As part of its dialogue with indigenous people, the Unit for the Search of Disappeared Persons in Colombia has developed a protocol which includes ethnic groups in the searching process, El Tiempo reports. An agreement has been made to develop a plan leading to the completion of a national census of missing indigenous persons, which…

Daily World News Digest 28 October 2019

Mexico: mass grave close to US border

After an initial discovery of 12 sets of human remains, 15 more bodies have been found in a mass grave near Puerto Penasco in the Mexican state of Sonora, just south of the border with the US state of Arizona, the International Business Times reports. The special investigation group that found the grave consists of relatives of missing persons.

Central America & Mexico: forensic database of missing migrants

Since 2010 the Argentine Forensic Anthropology Team has identified 200 migrants who disappeared and died while trying to reach the US, through a network of forensic databases in Central America and Mexico, Primera Edicion reports. The project has documented 1,957 cases by bringing authorities and civil society together (Original article in Spanish).

Bosnia and Herzegovina: more wartime victims identified

Ten wartime victims whose remains were exhumed from Mount Igman near Sarajevo on 5 June have…

Daily World News Digest 25 October 2019

Pakistan: “thousands of detainees could be freed

A recent ruling by a provincial high court in Pakistan could prompt the authorities to release or present to courts thousands of victims of forced disappearances, according to an article carried by the Gandhara news portal, which focuses on Afghanistan and Pakistan. It notes that people detained in Pakistan on suspicion of “anti-state” activities are rarely brought to court. Although some detainees have been released following legal action or protests, “thousands remain missing”, a situation that may now change.

Spain: “the second country in the world with most disappearances”

Spain’s Deputy Prime Minister, Carmen Calvo, said this week that the present situation regarding those who went missing as a result of the 1936-30 Civil War is “intolerable for a full democracy like ours”, El Independente reports. She was speaking on the occasion of the transfer of the body of former dictator Francisco Franco…

Daily World News Digest 24 October 2019

Commemorating victims of the Spanish Civil War

The BBC reports on issues related to the exhumation of the human remains of former Spanish dictator Francisco Franco, including work now underway across Spain to exhume and identify victims buried in clandestine graves during and after the 1936-39 Civil War.  A 1977 Amnesty Law prevents any criminal investigation into the Franco years, while a 2007 Historical Memory Law recognizes victims on both sides and provides some help for surviving victims of Franco’s dictatorship and their families. More than 100,000 victims of the conflict, and the repression carried out afterwards, are still missing.

Mexico: President reaffirms commitment to accounting for the missing

El Nuevo herald reports on a ceremony this week in the Mexican Senate, to confer an award on 92-year-old human rights activist Rosario Ibarra de Piedra, who reacted by symbolically presenting the award to President Andrés Manuel López Obrador with the…

Daily World News Digest 23 October 2019

Caribbean: missing migrants 

Newsday from Trinidad & Tobago reports on a deadly migration route six months after tens of migrants from Venezuela were lost off the coast of Trinidad. “To date, no trace has been found of 59 of the 70 travelers trying to reach the coast of Trinidad, fleeing the crisis in their homeland. Relatives and friends of the victims have been left in suspense since the first boat, the Jhonnalys José, was shipwrecked . . .  Three weeks later, the second, the Ana Maria, disappeared in the same area. 

Mexico: filmmaker documents enforced disappearances  

Mexico News Daily reports on a documentary Soles Negros (Dark Suns) by Canadian filmmaker Julien Elie, which focuses on victims of violence, including the enforced disappearance of 43 students in Iguala, Guerrero, in 2014“Impunity is…

Daily World News Digest 22 October 2019

Croatia: Remains of 13 Croatian Serbs identified in Zagreb

N1 reports that the human remains of 13 Serbs killed in the 1991-95 war have been identified at the forensic department of the Zagreb University School of Medicine. The news was communicated by the Missing Persons Commission of the Serbian Government. The remains of more than 1,400 Croatian Serbs killed during the war have already been identified following exhumation from mass graves and DNA testing.

India: Automated Facial Recognition System

In November, Indian authorities will announce the winner of a bid to install a National Automated Facial Recognition System, the Economic Times reports. It says the benefits of the system are “identifying criminals, missing children/persons, unidentified dead bodies”, but notes that there is no legal framework to regulate the storage of personal data.

Bangladesh: extrajudicial killings and enforced disappearances

At a session of the Bangladesh-EU joint commission in Dhaka, the EU…

Daily World News Digest 21 October 2019

Spain: former dictator’s body to be exhumed

CNN reports that the remains of the Spanish dictator, Francisco Franco, will be exhumed and relocated to a new resting place this week. Franco was buried in a grand mausoleum northwest of Madrid soon after his death in 1975. The monument, which was partially built by political prisoners, is the site of a mass grave of Spanish Civil War victims. In September, Spain’s Supreme Court ruled that the dictator could be exhumed from the mausoleum.

Spain: thousands of missing persons cases

Spain has a growing missing persons issue, according to El Confidencial newspaper, which cites a recent government report that there are 12,300 unresolved cases, with 7,183 new cases already reported in 2019. Cases are unresolved, according to one expert, because of “an absence of professionalization and coordination among agencies” (Original article in Spanish).

Bosnia and Herzegovina: authorities urged to focus on those…

Daily World News Digest 18 October 2019

Syria: new mass grave found in Raqqa

A team of first responders has discovered 18 bodies in a mass grave in Naim Square in Raqqa, Global News from Canada reports. This is the 18th mass grave found in the city. When human remains are found, they are matched against a missing persons list and when possible returned to families. In the case of no positive identification, they are stored for potential DNA testing when the local team acquires the right equipment and training.

India: authorities working on facial recognition to find missing children

India is working on “an ambitious plan to construct the world’s largest facial recognition system”, which could help to locate thousands of missing children, CNN reports. With more than 300,000 missing children in India, the project “envisions a future in which police from across the country’s 29 states and seven union territories would have access to a…

Daily World News Digest 17 October 2019

Malaysia: task force on enforced disappearance

Malaysian Home Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin says the government is awaiting the findings of a special task force announced in June to investigate the enforced disappearance of a Christian pastor and an activist, the Malay Mail reports. The seven-member taskforce is chaired by former High Court Judge Datuk Abd Rahim Uda and has been given six months to complete its investigation.

UN: impunity for crimes against human rights defenders must end

The overwhelming majority of human rights violations committed against human rights defenders around the world remain unpunished, according to UN Special Rapporteur Michael Frost. A press release issued by the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights quotes Frost as saying that human rights defenders around the world are subjected to “killings, enforced disappearances, torture, arbitrary detentions, forced displacement, threats and attacks.”

Liberia: mechanisms to address war crimes


Daily World News Digest 16 October 2019

Nigeria: enforced disappearances

Amnesty International has called for International Criminal Court to open an investigation into human rights abuses in Nigeria, related to the conflict between Boko Haram and the security forces. Both sides have been accused of serious human rights violations including extrajudicial killings and enforced disappearances.

Viet Nam and Cambodia act on missing soldiers

Viet Nam News reports that the Vietnamese Government has given US$523,000 to the Cambodian Government to assist in a joint effort to search, excavate and repatriate the remains of Vietnamese volunteer soldiers who were killed in Cambodia. “The two sides will also encourage people to provide information about martyrs and graves of volunteer soldiers and Vietnamese experts who have died in Cambodia,” Vietnam’s Deputy Minister of Defense, Lieut Gen Lê Chiêm said.

Mexico City: public discussion on new law on disappearances

The Congress of Mexico City has launched a two-month public discussion with…