Daily World News Digest, 11 December 2015

Sri Lanka to sign UN Convention on Disappearances

Business Standard, a news portal from India, reported on 10 December that Sri Lanka will sign a key UN convention on disappearances of people affected by the three-decade-old ethnic conflict, days after a UN group visited the country on a fact finding mission. Foreign minister Mangala Samaraweera said Sri Lanka’s Permanent Representative to the UN in New York will sign the Convention. Samaraweera said that cabinet has approved the proposal to sign the key Convention to commemorate Human Rights Day. The signing takes place just weeks after the UN working group on enforced disappearances visited the country on a fact finding mission. Samaraweera said it was important for Sri Lanka to sign the convention as it had been criticized for disappearances of individuals over a long period of time. http://bit.ly/1NfAz5I

Mothers of missing migrants from Central America in search for their loved ones

Free Speech Radio News carried a story on 10 December saying that a group of mothers from Central America are in search for their missing loved ones as they caravan across Mexico. There’s no definitive official data on the numbers of migrants who have vanished in Mexico, but advocacy organizations that work with Central American families put the numbers in the thousands. They visited La Merced, home to what is perhaps the largest and most visible hub of Mexico’s commercial sex industry. The women have come here to search for missing relatives who may have fallen victim to traffickers and to meet with sex worker organizations to ask for help. During this year’s caravan, four missing persons have been reunited with family members. http://bit.ly/1OVt6LC

Egypt: Elected parliament must take urgent measures to enforce constitutional rights

International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) issued a news on 10 December saying that as the newly elected parliament convenes this month, FIDH urges the parliament to abstain from ratifying the repressive laws adopted during its absence, as well as adopt and amend the necessary laws to enforce the rights and freedoms enshrined in the 2014 constitution. Thousands are sentenced in unfair trials due to their exercise of legitimate rights of freedom of expression, association and assembly. Mass deaths sentences are upheld in courts that lack any judicial independence. Incidents of torture, including sexual violence, in detention by state agents continue to be reported, amidst a climate of widespread impunity. Cases of enforced disappearances have increased where individuals are detained incommunicado and faced with high risk of torture. http://bit.ly/1IZiB3o

UN calls for DPR Korea to be referred to International Criminal Court

UN News Center issued a news on 10 December saying that the top UN human rights official called on the Security Council to refer the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) to the International Criminal Court, citing continuing gross rights violations, “the institutional nature and severity of which pose a threat to international peace and security.” UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein said “the abduction of foreign nationals, the enforced disappearances, the trafficking and the continued movement of refugees and asylum-seekers makes this point clearly.” He added that ‘’victims are still unable to find judicial redress.” He cited the Commission’s graphic description of the appalling nature of the DPRK’s political prison-camp system, where people including children have been deliberately starved, made to carry out forced labor and subjected to extrajudicial killings. http://bit.ly/1NfBTpt

Activists and families of the disappeared protest in Kashmir for World Human Rights Day

The Global Post reported on 10 December that activists and relatives of disappeared persons, on Thursday took to roads in restive Indian-controlled Kashmir to mark the World Human Rights Day. The activists staged protests in Srinagar city, the summer capital of Indian-controlled Kashmir, demanding an immediate end to rights abuses in the region Relatives of disappeared persons staged a sit-in demonstration in a public park urging government to declare the whereabouts of disappeared youth. “Our demand is let the government come up with the information related to our children, which were subjected to enforced disappearance in the custody,” said Parveena Ahanger, the Chairperson Association of Parents of Disappeared Persons (APDP). According to APDP, more than 8000 people were subjected to enforced disappearances in the restive region since 1989. http://bit.ly/1Y7ifie

Kenyan MPs freed after ‘’mass grave’’ questioning

The BBC reported on 10 December that six Kenyan politicians, detained over comments on the alleged discovery of mass graves in the north-east, have been released after six hours. The six, including prominent lawmaker Billow Kerrow, were taken to a police building for questioning. Kerrow suggested the graves were of people killed by the security forces. The interior minister said the allegation was false, and undermined efforts to tackle militant Islamists. Fifteen sites had been exhumed in Mandera County, and no mass graves had been found, Joseph Nkaissery said in a statement. The body of one woman was discovered. Amnesty International said it had visited Mandera, and could confirm that there were no mass graves. However, there were reports of systematic human rights violations, including torture and extra-judicial killings, it said. http://bbc.in/1NK5nND

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.