Daily World News Digest, 12 February 2016

UAE: Jordanian journalist held incommunicado

Human Rights Watch issued a statement today saying that a Jordanian journalist working in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) has been held incommunicado since the UAE Criminal Investigations Department in Abu Dhabi summoned him on 13 December, 2015. UAE authorities should immediately disclose where they are holding the journalist, Tayseer al-Najjar, 42, and immediately allow him to contact a lawyer and his family. “Al-Najjar’s case bears all the marks of the UAE’s shameful practice of forced disappearances and incommunicado detentions,” said Joe Stork, deputy Middle East director. http://bit.ly/1Lkp0HO

UK says Hong Kong bookseller ‘abduction breaches China treaty’

The BBC reported today that the UK has said a British bookseller who has disappeared in Hong Kong was likely “involuntarily removed” to China, calling it a “serious breach” of the handover treaty. The statement from Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond is the UK’s strongest comment so far on the case of Lee Bo. It is also the first time the UK has noted a serious breach of the 1984 Sino-British Joint Declaration. Under Hong Kong law, Chinese police do not have jurisdiction in the territory. The Treaty safeguards Hong Kong’s freedoms after the territory was handed back by Britain. Mr Lee is one of five booksellers or publishers missing from Hong Kong. http://bbc.in/1KfgO0p

Pope Francis cancels meeting with Ayotzinapa families

Telesur news portal carried a story on 11 February saying that Pope Francis has cancelled a much-anticipated meeting with the families of the 43 disappeared Ayotzinapa students a day ahead of his visit to Mexico. Mexico continues to suffer an ongoing crisis of enforced disappearances. According to the latest official statistics, more than 27,600 people are missing in Mexico. But while the pope has heralded his visit to Mexico as a tour of “the Mexico of violence, of corruption, of drug trafficking, of cartels,” the pontiff continues to remain silent on the critical and widespread issue of enforced disappearances. http://bit.ly/20PBx2j

Pakistan: Barbarianism against Baloch people continue

Sri Lanka Guardian carried a story today saying that security forces are behind the abduction of civilians under the cover of Pakistan Protection Ordinance (PPO). Since it had been introduced as a federal law, civilians are being arrested from all over Pakistan, but the provincial government of Balochistan has officially arrested more than 9000 civilians. Federal institutions are bound to inform relatives of the interments, who were arrested. But the whereabouts of arrested people and captives have not been revealed. The majority of arrested civilians have remained more than 90 days in their captivity. In fact these civilians are still forcibly disappeared. http://bit.ly/1V82GGK

UN Special Rapporteur on Truth and Justice explains the transitional process in Sri Lanka

The New Indian Express reported on 11 February that Pablo de Greiff, the UN Special Rapporteur on Truth, Justice, Reparation and Guarantees of Non-Recurrence, has said that Sri Lanka should not be hasty in trying to meet its commitments to the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) in regard to issues of transitional justice. He felt that some things can be done in the short term to create confidence in the victims of war that justice is on the cards. Among tasks which can be done immediately, he mentioned the return of lands held by the military; launching of victims’ assistance programs; giving psycho-social support; toning by the judicial system, and tracing missing persons. http://bit.ly/1owsPop

Minsk Talks: OSCE ought to toughen position to secure peace in Donbas

Ukrinform, a news portal from Ukraine, reported on 11 February that Iryna Herashchenko, a politician and journalist, believes that the OSCE has to demonstrate a tougher position to secure peace in Donbas at Minsk talks. “We think that the OSCE as an organization created to secure peace, human rights, should take a tougher stance in talks held in Minsk.” She reminded that 136 people are now prisoners and 700 are considered missing persons in the occupied areas of Donbas. Herashchenko noted that liberation of the hostages has been virtually frozen by the separatists now. http://bit.ly/1PQIN70

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.