Daily World News Digest, 10 September 2015

Call for UN investigation in Jammu and Kashmir 

The Hindu, daily from India, reported on 10 September that rights groups on 9 September asked the UN to appoint a Special Rapporteur to investigate crimes allegedly committed by security forces in Jammu and Kashmir. Releasing a report on human rights abuses in Jammu and Kashmir, International Peoples’ Tribunal on Human Rights and Justice in Kashmir (IPTK) convener Gautam Navlakha said the group is asking the UN Security Council to refer the situation in Jammu and Kashmir to the Prosecutor of International Criminal Court. He said that a copy of the report will be sent to the Security Council and the UN Human Rights Council. According to the report, there were 972 perpetrators among which are officials, law enforcement and army who participated in extra-judicial killings, enforced disappearances, torture and other crimes in Jammu and Kashmir. Among others, the report documents 1,080 extra-judicial killings and 172 enforced disappearances and 333 human rights abuses. http://bit.ly/1JWgyzJ

Juncker calls for “compulsory” redistribution of 160,000 migrants

The Telegraph reported on 9 September that President of the EU Commission Jean-Claude Juncker used his annual State of the Union address in Strasbourg to unveil a startlingly ambitious plan to tackle Europe’s migrant crisis, including a permanent relocation mechanism that will allow the Union to deal with crisis situations more swiftly in future. Mr. Juncker’s proposals would see 160,000 refugees redistributed under a compulsory scheme from Italy, Greece and Hungary to all other member states (excluding Britain, Ireland and Denmark, who are exempt under EU treaties). He called for a common EU asylum and migrant policy, and a review of the current so-called Dublin system which sees asylum seekers register at the first EU country in which they arrive. An €1.8bn emergency trust fund to help African nations tackle the migrant crisis at source, and the right for asylum seekers to find employment while waiting for their applications to be processed were also on Juncker’s wish list. His plan also includes Frontex becoming a “fully operational border and coast guard system” to patrol the EU’s external borders and a “more powerful” EU foreign policy under Federica Mogherini and a “diplomatic offensive” in Syria and Libya. He also added that 122,000 lives have been saved since the EU stepped up its sea mission in May. http://bit.ly/1Q1QSmC

UN experts welcome new report on Mexico

The UN News Center reported on 9 September that UN human rights experts have welcomed a new report on the enforced disappearances, executions and torture of students from Ayotzinapa in the Mexican state of Guerrero in September 2014. The experts called for prompt and diligent implementation of the recommendations in the report, which was produced by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights. The report contains recommendations that are relevant to all enforced disappearances, torture and executions in Mexico. The experts acknowledged the support of the Mexican Government in the creation of the Interdisciplinary Group of Independent Experts (IGIE) of the Inter-American Commission, as well as its readiness to extend the Group’s mandate to complete its work. The experts and the IGIE are calling for a reassessment of the investigation, including the particulars of the search for the students, as well as allegations of torture and mistreatment. It was also agreed that there is a need to “investigate all officials who have obstructed the investigation.” http://bit.ly/1McdzXs

Human rights lawyers disappear in China

The BBC reported on 9 September the case of Li Heping, one of China’s best known human rights lawyers, who was picked up at his office on 10 July by a group of plain-clothes police officers who then escorted him home. “The door opened and several strangers came in,” said Wang Qiaoling, wife of Li Heping. “I didn’t know what was going on. My husband also came in. He handed me his keys, and he was taken downstairs by two tall men.” That is the last she has seen or heard of her husband since. She has been warned by the police not to give interviews to the foreign media but has decided to ignore the threat that it will make her husband’s case worse. “If I don’t step forward, who’s going to speak for him?” she asks. “I am his wife.” Sixty-one days later and counting – long past China’s upper limit of 37 days before the police have to charge or release a suspect – there has been no official notification of his whereabouts, his health and wellbeing or any details at all regarding the crimes for which he is supposedly under suspicion. The case is a clear example of how, despite the much-vaunted reforms made two years ago to China’s Criminal Procedure Law – meant to bring the country more into line with international norms – little has changed, the report says. In total, according to figures compiled by the Hong Kong-based China Human Rights Lawyers’ Concern Group, since early July more than 280 human rights lawyers and activists and some of their relatives and assistants have been either summoned for questioning, formally detained or simply disappeared. Today 29 are thought to remain in custody. Fourteen of them, like Mr Li, are qualified attorneys. http://bbc.in/1JWxlQP

Migrants, refugees’ rights to top UN Human Rights Council agenda

Voice of America reported on 9 September that the human rights of migrants and refugees will top the agenda of the upcoming session of the UN Human Rights Council. The Council’s 30th regular session opens on Monday and is scheduled to run until 2 October. UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein will begin the three week session with an update of emerging crises. German Ambassador and President of the Council Joachim Ruecker said the migrant and refugee situation in Europe and elsewhere will be a major focus. Human rights experts will present reports on issues such as arbitrary detention, enforced disappearances and torture to the 47-member Council. Thirty countries will be highlighted including investigative reports on the human rights situation in Syria and Ukraine. A high level government delegation from Sri Lanka will be coming to Geneva ahead of a crucial report on alleged war crimes committed during the country’s 30-year civil war. The country’s former president failed to investigate allegations of abuse, so the Council last year decided to mount its own investigation. http://bit.ly/1KaA1xY

Family members disappear after abduction by Homeland Security in Egypt

AllAfrica news portal carried a story on 8 September saying that an urgent appeal was sent to the UN Working Group on Enforced and Involuntary Disappearances (WGEID) regarding the abduction of three members of Abdelaziz Farag family. Threatened twice by Homeland Security officers since the abduction of their three relatives, the Abdelazziz Farag family has stopped looking for them but fear that they will be tortured in secret detention, the report says. In the middle of the night of 23 August 2015, several men in civilian clothes broke into the family home in Shubra El Kheima, a city located in the outskirts of Cairo. Claiming that they belonged to the Homeland Security, they destroyed objects in the house before dragging Mohamed, Abdelaziz and Ismael out of the house and forcing them into a vehicle that left for an undisclosed location. Fearing for the three men’s fates, on 24 August 2015 their relatives sent a telegram to the Public Prosecutor of Shubra Al Kheima, but it remained unanswered. Instead, officers from the Homeland Security stormed in their home again the same day, the report says. http://bit.ly/1ixNchO

“No compromise“ on fighting for Nepal’s disappeared

Anadolu Agency carried a story on 9 September saying that an estimated 1,300 people were forcibly disappeared during Nepal’s decade-long Maoist insurgency, which ended in 2006 after the rebel leaders and government signed a peace deal. The war claimed the lives of more than 16,000 people, thousands were injured and tens of thousands displaced. Rights groups have accused both security forces and Maoist rebels of grave human rights violations. Early last year, Nepal formulated laws to set up a Truth and Reconciliation Commission and Commission on Enforced Disappearance, fulfilling a major condition of the peace deal. The commissions, originally scheduled to be completed within six months of the peace deal, took eight years to materialize. Rights activists and victims’ groups say they have been left behind in the process, arguing that the laws favor perpetrators. http://bit.ly/1MdkrUs

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.