Daily World News Digest, 10 February 2016

Mass graves to be studied at new Sydney body farm

The Sydney Morning Herald reported today that Australian forensic scientists will simulate the mass war graves of Iraq, Syria and the Balkans at Australia’s new body farm, which began operating last week at a highly secure site west of Sydney. The site will be used by a range of experts to improve understanding of human decomposition.  Victorian scientists will also use the Sydney bush site to study the decomposition of co-mingled bodies in a mass grave, usually caused by political, religious or ethnic violence. The project’s co-director is Jon Sterenberg, a forensic archaeologist who was head of the ICMP excavation and examination division in Croatia, Serbia, Kosovo, Montenegro and Bosnia and Herzegovina. http://bit.ly/1KbjnRg

UN rights chief urges Sri Lanka government to locate missing civilians

The Jurist issued a news on 9 February saying that UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein on Tuesday urged the Sri Lankan government to investigate and locate thousands of civilians that went missing during the nation’s civil war.„The Prime Minister’s recent statement that nearly all the disappeared persons are dead has created great distress among their families, who until then still had hope. This statement must be followed by rapid action to identify precisely who is still alive and who has died or been killed, properly account for their deaths—including whether or not they were unlawful—identify the location of their remains, and provide redress.” http://bit.ly/23WhkH3

Human Rights Watch: Free disappeared booksellers

Human Rights Watch issued a statement today saying that Chinese authorities should immediately release five booksellers who the government has forcibly disappeared. The five are affiliated with the Hong Kong-based Mighty Current Media, known for publishing books critical of senior Chinese leaders. “The Chinese government should immediately release the five booksellers it abducted and ‘disappeared’ under the guise of law enforcement,” said Sophie Richardson, China director. Hong Kong authorities said that mainland authorities had confirmed that “criminal compulsory measures” had been taken against three. The remaining two are believed to have been abducted by Chinese security agents.  http://bit.ly/1Qqusuc

Second outside reports says Mexico students not burned at dump

KSL news portal carried a story on 9 February saying that a group of Argentine forensic experts says it has determined there is no biological or physical evidence to conclude that 43 students who disappeared in southern Mexico in 2014 were incinerated at a trash dump as government investigators initially said. The report released by the Argentine Forensic Anthropology Team said the dump in Cocula, Guerrero state, had been the site of multiple fires at various times. But it said that while the remains of at least 19 people were found near the dump, there is no evidence that the remains were from the missing students. http://bit.ly/1SfcQaE

Cyprus: Fotiou speaks out on allegations of missing persons

In Cyprus news portal reported on 9 February that Presidential Commissioner Fotis Fotiou has said that he has received pieces of information concerning additional cases of relocation of remains of missing persons in the north, though he was not able to confirm this as yet. Fotiou said that a document distributed at the request of the Turkish to the Council of Europe`s Committee of Ministers asks the Cyprus government to demonstrate a ‘proactive approach’ and grant permission to the Committee of Missing Persons (CMP) for exhumations in military areas in the Republic. He said it also refers to the relocation of remains that took place in 1990s”. http://bit.ly/1o20ztW

Remains of hundreds of people in a ranch in Veracruz

Prensa Latina carried a story on 9 February saying that Remains of dead people appeared in the same ranch, where there were remains of two of five young missing persons in Veracruz, and the Mexican authorities gathered calcined remains of hundreds of persons. This was stated by Bernardo Benítez, father of one of two missing persons who was identified between the human remains in the ranch called El Limon. He stated that the found remains are burned, without possibility of realizing DNA tests. The young people were in unknown whereabouts from 11 January, when a video shows that they were captured by police officers of Veracruz. http://bit.ly/1PBPIxm

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.