Daily World News Digest, 12 May 2017

Three mass graves found in western Iraq

AFP reported on Thursday that three mass graves have been discovered in Iraq’s western province of Anbar containing the bodies of civilians and members of the security forces. It is still unknown how many bodies are in the three sites in the Saqlawiyah region, north of Fallujah, in the Karma area, east of Fallujah, and behind the old central library in central Ramadi, the province’s capital. Security forces are deployed to protect the site and forensic teams from Baghdad are expected in the coming days. http://bit.ly/2pEQfbh

Kurdistan seeks international help to uncover Da’esh mass graves

Rudaw reported on Thursday that the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) has stepped up its investigations into alleged Da’esh mass graves. The article says the government is seeking expert support from international organizations. The Ministry of Martyrs and Anfal Affairs says at least two international groups have so far offered assistance in unearthing around 40 suspected Da’esh mass graves. http://bit.ly/2q89rlL

Mexican businesswoman who searched for missing persons is killed

The BBC reports today that a Mexican businesswoman who headed a group of 600 families searching for their disappeared relatives has been killed. Miriam Rodriguez Martinez was shot in her home in the town of San Fernando in Tamaulipas state. She was known for successfully investigating the kidnap and murder of her daughter by a local drug cartel, the Zetas. The information she gave the police ensured the gang members were jailed. But in March one of them escaped and her colleagues said she started to receive threats.  Her colleagues said she had asked for police protection but was ignored. http://bbc.in/2qytZVw

UN Human Rights Council: strong message sent to Philippines on extra-judicial killings

ABS-CBN reports today that nearly 50 states have voiced concern regarding extra-judicial killings related to the so-called “war on drugs” in the Philippines during a UN Human Rights Council session reviewing the country’s human rights record. There were repeated calls for the Philippines to end extra-judicial killings and enforced disappearances, and investigate extra-judicial killings thoroughly and hold those responsible accountable. http://bit.ly/2pEkm3n

Spain to exhume the remains of former dictator Francisco Franco

The Guardian reports today that Spanish MPs on Thursday approved a symbolic resolution to exhume the remains of former dictator Francisco Franco from his tomb in the basilica of the Valley of the Fallen, outside Madrid, to be re-interred elsewhere. Although the memorial – partly built by captured republicans and political prisoners – is officially meant to commemorate the estimated 500,000 people killed during the conflict, Franco and Jose Antonio Primo de Rivera, the founder of the Falangist party, rest in the only two visible tombs. The site, surmounted by a 150-metre-high cross, is also a mass grave containing the bodies of more than 30,000 people from both sides of the war. The Socialist party, which put forward the non-binding proposal, also want to see the creation of a truth commission, funding to be stopped to groups promoting or defending Franco, and the introduction of a DNA database to help identify the disappeared.  http://bit.ly/2pEBsyl

Bosnia’s legacy of atrocity: 25 years on

Marking the 25th anniversary of mass killings in the northern Bosnian town of Prijedor and the nearby concentration camp at Omarska Aljazeera re-broadcast a documentary on 10 May. On 31 May 1992, the Bosnian Serb authorities in Prijedor ordered the non-Serb population to mark their homes with white flags and wear white armbands. Thousands of Bosniaks and Croats were imprisoned at Omarska. The camp only remained open for a few months but witnessed some of the worst atrocities of the war. It now opens once a year on the anniversary of its closure on 6 August 1992, a permanent memorial to those who died both there and in Prijedor. Using archive of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia at The Hague from 2000, the documentary examines whether the international judicial system has managed to achieve justice for the victims of Prijedor and Omarska. http://bit.ly/2q9qnI1

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.