Daily World News Digest, 1 March 2016

Burundi police find 30 bodies in mass grave as UN experts arrive

Bloomberg reported today that Burundian police discovered a mass grave in the capital, Bujumbura, where about 30 bodies were buried, police spokesman Pierre Nkurikiye said. The grave was found at Mutakura, in the north of the city, Nkurikiye said on national radio on Tuesday. The victims may be members of the ruling party’s youth wing who opposed demonstrations against President Pierre Nkurunziza’s candidacy in elections last year. UN human-rights team is expected to arrive in the country today to investigate possible abuses. http://bloom.bg/1nf7jmK

Kosovo: time to shift focus to development, rule of law, human rights, says UN envoy

UN News Center issued a news on 29 February saying that with Kosovo set to face “complex challenges” this year, it is an opportune time to perhaps shift local and international focus towards the intrinsic links between post-conflict development, enforcement of the rule of law, and human rights, the head of the United Nations political mission there said. Zahir Tanin welcomed the appointment of a new chair of the Pristina delegation of the Joint Working Group on Missing Persons. http://bit.ly/1LRSrBl

Nepal rejects UN suggestions on transitional justice

The Kathmandu Post reported today that Nepal has rejected all the 29 recommendations on human rights that were made during the 23rd Universal Periodic Review in Geneva. Nepal has refused to ratify the Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture, International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance and Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court. The government has formed the Commission of Investigation on Enforced Disappeared Persons but disappearance and torture are yet to be criminalized. Majority of the suggestions were linked to the newly formed transitional justice mechanism and some related to torture, disappearances and human trafficking. http://bit.ly/1UvRmWL

Ending impunity with truth in Mexico: Oaxaca uncovers massive state abuse

Telesur news portal reported on 29 February that the Mexican state committed “massive and systematic” human rights abuses in the southwestern state of Oaxaca in 2006 and 2007 according to the final report of the Oaxaca Truth Commission. The report blames the government for detentions, torture and inhumane treatment, enforced disappearances, and extrajudicial killings as part of a campaign to crack down on social movement mobilizations. The conflict in Oaxaca broke out in mid-2006 when a teachers’ strike over low education funding morphed into a broad-based popular uprising demanding the resignation of state Governor Ulises Ruiz Ortiz, who refused to step down. http://bit.ly/1RBOJjA

Hong Kong bookseller denies kidnapped by China

Reuters carried a story today saying that a Hong Kong bookseller and British passport holder who disappeared last year, Lee Bo, said he had not been kidnapped by Chinese authorities, as many have suspected, but had sneaked into China illegally and that he would renounce his British citizenship. In a 20-minute interview with China’s Phoenix Television late on Monday, Lee gave the first detailed account of his disappearance from Hong Kong in December, saying he had returned to China voluntarily. Lee didn’t give details on how he’d crossed the border into China, or who helped him and when he might return. http://reut.rs/21y9uVj

Activists hail landmark ruling on sexual slavery in Guatemala’s civil war

Vice news carried a story on 29 February saying that human rights activists say the guilty verdict in a landmark trial highlighting horrific crimes committed against women during Guatemala’s civil war is a lesson for the world. The case concerns events that took place between 1982 and 1983 at the small Sepur Zarco military base. An UN-backed truth commission later concluded that around 240,000 people were either killed or disappeared in the war, primarily as the result of the military’s brutal counterinsurgency strategy that included multiple massacres in indigenous communities. Judge Barrios said sexual violence had been used as a weapon of war. http://bit.ly/24ymQ2U

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.