Daily World News Digest, 1 June 2016

Work of Committee on missing persons’ critical step towards Cyprus reconciliation

The UN Media Center carries comments today by Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon on the work of the Committee on Missing persons in Cyprus. He notes that the CMP has operated across the island and located and exhumed the remains of more than half of all missing persons.  Of these, more than a third have been identified and returned to their families. All of this work has taken place in the absence of a comprehensive political settlement.  “This powerfully demonstrates that when there is political will, effective cooperation between the two sides yields results.  It is my hope that the Committee on Missing Persons’ experience can inspire broader efforts at bicommunal cooperation in Cyprus and beyond.”  http://bit.ly/25A8Rga

More than 2,500 deaths in the Mediterranean this year

The Telegraph reported on 31 May that more than 2,500 people have died trying to cross the Mediterranean in rubber dinghies and rusting fishing boats so far this year, according to a report issued by UNHCR on Tuesday. That number represents a significant increase compared to the same period last year, when 1,855 migrants lost their lives after their boats capsized and sank. In 2014, the figure for the same period was just 57. While large numbers of migrants, including women and children, are dying at sea, tens of thousands of others successfully reach southern Europe, with around 204,000 making the journey to Italy and Greece since January. http://bit.ly/22x4vkF

Paris mayor announces plan for migrant camp

The BBC, reported on 31 May that a camp for migrants is to be set up in the north of Paris within the next six weeks, according to Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo. The new camp in Paris is expected to provide day facilities and overnight accommodation. The current situation, she said, was no longer “tenable”, citing a makeshift camp that had sprung up in the north of Paris in the past few days, which is now home to 800 people. The new camp, she added, would be modelled on one created near the northern port of Calais to take in people from the unofficial “Jungle” encampment. http://bbc.in/1TPD70R

Sri Lanka will not prosecute those responsible for disappearances

JDS, a daily from the Sri Lanka, reports today that the government will not take legal action against those found to have been responsible for enforced disappearances. On 24 May Sri Lanka’s cabinet approved the setting up of an Office on Missing Persons (OMP) to account for tens of thousands of people missing from the conflict. However, “The findings of OMP will not give rise to civil or criminal liability,” according to the proposal to establish the office signed by Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe. The new office would be empowered to search and trace missing persons, clarify the circumstances of enforced disappearances, and identify ways to provide redress. Recalling the government’s commitment at the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) in Geneva last year, to hold nationwide public consultations on all transitional justice mechanisms, Human Rights Watch (HRW) said in a statement that the approval to set up the OMP has been given “without talking with the families who have long waited for justice.” http://bit.ly/20SzwOC

Items in Daily World News Digest are summaries of published reports relevant to the issue of missing persons, compiled by ICMP staff.  These items do not necessarily reflect the position of ICMP.