Daily World News Digest, 3 October 2016

Colombians narrowly reject peace deal

CNN reports today that Colombians narrowly rejected a referendum on Sunday on a peace deal between the government and former rebel group FARC that took over four years to negotiate and would have ended five decades of war. In a final result few were anticipating, 50.22 percent of voters voted “no” on the single-issue ballot, a blow to President Juan Manuel Santos, whose popularity has suffered in his support of the deal. Also known as the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, the FARC leadership released a statement expressing sadness at the vote. “With today’s result, we know that our goal as a political movement is even more grand and strong. The FARC maintains the will of peace and reiterates its disposition to only use words as a weapon for constructing the future,” the statement said. http://cnn.it/2dRm6UF

Srebrenica, 20 years in the shadow of genocide

The Scotsman published a report from Srebrenica on 1 October, where, it says, “peacemakers stood by as men and boys, some of them disabled, were rounded up and shot in schools, factories, a football stadium and fields”. It notes that the identification and burial of thousands of victims “were only possible because of the painstaking work carried out by forensic experts at the International Commission for Missing Persons (ICMP), which has devoted the past 20 years to piecing together and testing body parts in the hope of identifying the dead. http://bit.ly/2doVmZl

End enforced disappearances in Kenya

The Standard Digital publishes a story today about police rounding up a group of young men accused of being Al Shabaab followers or sympathizers. The men were later released and the accusations dropped, a different outcome from a similar incident “sometime ago” when young men were rounded up inthe same county and have not been heard from them since. “These and other forced disappearances mostly by enforcement officers give rise to a number of questions; is to be accused of being a member of a terrorist organization enough reason for one to be killed? Extra-judicial killing is the slaying of a person by law enforcement officers without the sanction of any judicial proceeding or legal process. Extra-judicial punishments are mostly seen to be unlawful since they bypass the due process of the legal jurisdiction in which they occur.” http://bit.ly/2cMxuwk   

Over 25,000 victims buried at Rwanda memorial ceremony

The New Times, a daily newspaper from Rwanda, reports today that some 25,000 victims of the 1994 genocide were buried on Friday at a memorial center in Gasabo District in the capital Kigali. Dr Jean-Damascène Bizimana, the executive secretary of the National Commission for the Fight against Genocide, said the plan to renovate genocide memorial sites is part of a comprehensive national strategy. “The wish is to bring into fewer and stronger memorial sites all remains that are scattered in the different mass graves in the country. We want sites to have a long durability and ensure they are periodically maintained,” he said. “Burying genocide victims in good genocide sites is to give them their value and honor they lost.” According to Bizimana, there are currently 234 Genocide memorial sites in the country. http://bit.ly/2dT7CUx            

Call for Indonesia to address 1965 mass human rights violations

The Sri Lanka Guardian reports today that despite President Joko Widodo’s repeated commitments to address human rights violations committed in 1965 – such as extrajudicial executions, enforced disappearances and torture – more than five decades later millions of victims and their families are still waiting for truth, justice and reparation. On the 51st anniversary of these violations, Amnesty International, Asia Justice and Rights (AJAR), East-Timor and Indonesia Action Network (ETAN), La’o Hamutuk, TAPOL, Watch Indonesia! and Yayasan HAK have called on the Indonesian authorities to go beyond just rhetoric and take concrete steps that address ongoing impunity for these crimes in accordance with international law and standards. http://bit.ly/2cMKYYL

China-Pakistan Economic Corridor “a threat” to Balochistan

India Today reported on 1 October that the Baloch Republican Party Representative to the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) Abdul Nawaz Bugti, has criticized the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) saying the project is a threat to the existence of the indigenous people of Balochistan. “The local people were not taken into confidence before signing the agreements with China and the Baloch see these projects as a plan to convert them into a minority in their homeland and exploit their natural resources,” he said. “Instead of addressing the genuine grievances of the Baloch people, the Pakistani state has responded with more atrocities to silence any opposition to the CPEC. Human Rights abuses by Pakistani security forces have escalated.” He stated again that enforced disappearances and extrajudicial killings have become a routine practice. http://bit.ly/2donR9R 

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.