Daily World News Digest, 10 November 2016

37 men fleeing fighting detained in Iraq

Human Rights Watch reports today that Iraqi and Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) forces have detained at least 37 men from areas around Mosul and Hawija suspected of being affiliated with so-called Islamic State since the beginning of the Mosul operation. HRW has spoken to 46 relatives and witnesses, who described how security forces took the men from checkpoints, villages, screening centers, and camps for displaced people. Most said that they did not know where the men are being held and all of them said that the men have not been able to contact them while in detention. HRW notes that enforced disappearances, which occur when security forces detain and then conceal the fate or whereabouts of a detainee, placing them outside the protection of the law, are violations of international human rights law and can be international crimes. Depriving detainees of any contact with the outside world and refusing to give family members any information about their fate or whereabouts can qualify their detentions as enforced disappearances. http://bit.ly/2fgyM7L

EU raps Balkan states over War Crimes Progress

Balkan Insight reported yesterday that in its annual progress reports, the EU urged improvements in war crimes prosecutions in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia and Kosovo, and expressed concern about a slowdown in finding missing persons from the 1990s conflicts. The reports, published on Wednesday, said that the three Balkan countries still need to do more to deal with the crimes committed during the wars of the 1990s and their enduring impact. Serbia is criticized for not cooperating properly with the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia and extraditing three wanted members of the nationalist Serbian Radical Party to The Hague. In Kosovo, the EU warns that local war crimes prosecutors and police may be under-resourced and under-skilled. It also expresses continued concern about the huge backlog of unprocessed war crimes cases in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Overall, the unresolved fate of close to 11,000 people who disappeared during the conflicts of the 1990s remains a concern, the reports say. http://bit.ly/2eLyyo9

India urged to release human rights activist

The Kashmir Media Service reports today that the Jammu Kashmir Coalition of Civil Society (JKCCS) has released a dossier on Human Rights activist Khurram Parvez, who has been detained in Jammu under the Public Safety Act (PSA). The JKCCS President, Advocate Parvez Imroz, said that “Delhi has ignored the demand of five Special Rapporteurs/Working Groups of the UN, and numerous international and Indian individuals and groups – including Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, the International Coalition against Enforced Disappearances, the Asian Federation against Involuntary Disappearances and the International Commission of Jurists – for the immediate release of Khurram Parvez.” He called for “the immediate release of Khurram Parvez and all others illegally detainees under PSA”. http://bit.ly/2fzUvpe

Japan mulls “dilemma” of protecting personal data

The Japan News reports today that the Japanese government is trying to formulate new rules for handling personal data in preparation for the enforcement of revisions to the Protection of Personal Information Law next spring. The term “privacy” has taken on a life of its own since the law came into force in 2005, the paper says, but as investigative authorities and administrative bodies become increasingly reluctant to release information, there is a risk that these rules will significantly affect the safety of people in times of disaster, as well as the public’s right to know. When disasters such as earthquakes, tsunami and floods occur and the whereabouts of people are unknown, it is important to publicize their names and collect as much information as possible. If people have fled without communicating their whereabouts, those near to them will probably notice and inform the authorities. By reducing the number of missing persons, rescuers are able to concentrate on places where they are needed most. http://bit.ly/2fErDyo

Mexico government: reports of hundreds of missing girls “unfounded”

NBC San Diego carried a story yesterday on a statement by the Mexico state attorney-general’s office saying that reports of hundreds of missing girls south of the US-Mexico border are unfounded. Officials discussed reports of a growing number of girls reported missing when they met with the media Monday. There are 1,251 missing persons reports filed in Tijuana, one official from the attorney-general’s office told NBC 7. Of those, 655 were women. However, the official stressed that 985 of those missing person cases have been solved. The agency receives approximately 120 reports of a missing person each month. There are sometimes more than a dozen a day, the official said. Eight out of 10 reports involve women between the ages of 13-16. Teenagers who leave home as runaways are included in these statistics. Officials speculate that the subjects of unsolved cases may have crossed into the US. http://bit.ly/2fU1YD9

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.