Daily World News Digest, 13 July 2015

Twenty years on, we’re still digging up the dead of the Srebrenica massacre

The Telegraph carried an article written by Alistair Burt, a British minister at the Department of Health and ICMP Commissioner since December 2013, on 10 July, saying that Srebrenica has emerged in the post-Cold War world as a symbol of political and moral failure on a catastrophic scale. Around 8,000 people were murdered after the UN protected enclaves of Zepa and Srebrenica were overrun by Bosnian Serb forces in July 1995. Executions were filmed; trench graves were filled with corpses and later robbed with mechanical diggers in a vain attempt to hide evidence. He added: “Since December 2013 I have been a Commissioner of the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP), the organization that has led the effort to account for tens of thousands of persons who went missing during the conflicts in the former Yugoslavia and which has gone on to become the leading agency in accounting for missing persons worldwide.” “In the Western Balkans ICMP has led a process that has made it possible to account for more than 70 percent of the missing. In the case of Srebrenica the ratio of identifications is even higher, 6,930 individuals, close to 90 percent of those reported missing,” he said. http://bit.ly/1gwEDTs

Bosnian weavers to mark the 20th anniversary of Srebrenica massacre with quilts

Sarajevo Times carried a story on 11 July saying that weavers from the Bosnian women’s group, Association Bosnian Family (BOSFAM) commemorated the 20th anniversary of the Srebrenica massacre on July 11th with a powerful exhibition of quilts, woven with the names of over 200 genocide victims, including their own relatives. The BOSFAM weavers were also to participate in the reburial of genocide victims whose remains have been identified in the past year. The story reported the work of ICMP in identifying missing persons from the Srebrenica genocide. http://bit.ly/1CA82WK

Bosnia still digging up its tortured past

Yahoo News reported on 10 July that the ICMP is one of the few genuine success stories to emerge from the impoverished, fissiparous post-war Western Balkans. ICMP’s innovative DNA approach has been exported around the world, helping to identify victims of natural disasters and political violence everywhere from the United States and the Philippines to Chile and Iraq. Bosnia and Herzegovina’s cash-strapped government is unlikely to step into the breach to fund expensive DNA laboratories. Dragana Vucetic, Serbian forensic anthropologist at the ICMP Tuzla lab said: “When they removed those skeletal remains, often with big trucks, they destroyed the integrity of individuals. So very often we don’t find complete bodies.” Many bodies were so badly decomposed that the ICMP identified just 140 Srebrenica victims in its first five years, mainly through clothing and body parts. http://yhoo.it/1eVl4mO

Serbs in eastern Bosnia remember their victims

b92, news portal from Serbia, carried a story today saying that a day after the commemoration in Potocari held for the Bosniak victims, Serbs were on Sunday remembering their victims in nearby Bratunac. Sixty-nine Serb civilians and soldiers were killed by forces led by Naser Oric on 12 July 1992. The murders coincided with the Feast of St. Peter and Paul (Serbian: Petrovdan) a major holiday celebrated by Orthodox Serbs. Danilo Stevic, a local Serb who lost his son, says that reconciliation is “the only way out for Serbs and Bosniaks,” adding: “It will be difficult, but there’s no survival without it. Those who don’t know how to forgive and forget are in for a hard time. Therefore, it must be done, that’s life.” http://bit.ly/1CzxZWA

Balochistan: more than 24 people recently abducted by Pakistani forces

The Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organizations (UNPO) reported on 10 July that abduction and enforced disappearances of Baloch activists have continued in Balochistan. In the past few days, the Pakistani Frontier Corps have abducted nine people from from Thump area of the Kech district, according to UNPO. Seven of them were released after a preliminary investigation but two were transferred to an unknown location for further questioning. Two more men were abducted from the area of Gawadar. Meanwhile, the forces conducted raids and abducted five people in the Bakra Gholam Bolak area of Sibbi, another three people in Quetta and five more in the area of Patfidar. In Quetta, the abducted persons are said to be Baloch students from the University of Quetta. The whereabouts of all the abducted persons remain unknown. Meanwhile in another incident the Sibbi Scout 89 of Pakistan FC have conducted a raid in Bakra Gholam Bolak area of Sibbi (Sewi) Balochistan and abducted five people. http://bit.ly/1Hpw6Z

Released activist: what happened to me was “enforced disappearance”

The Cairo Post carried a story on 11 July saying that activists Khaled el-Sayed was released Friday hours after reportedly being held by Cairo airport authorities and banned from traveling to Qatar. Sayed was stopped Thursday from boarding a plane heading to Doha, where his wife works. He was missing for over 30 hours, without any official statements on his whereabouts or the reasons for him being held, his wife Hoda Mahmoud told the Cairo Post Friday. Sayed said he has not been informed about the reasons for his detention so far, saying what happened to him was an “enforced disappearance crime,” referring to “a state of confusion” that prevails in Egypt. Since April, some 163 enforced disappearance cases have been identified by the Freedom for the Brave group, an NGO. Sayed, a former member of the disolved Revolution Youth Coalition, was arrested in 2014 during the fourth anniversary of the 25 January Revolution, and spent almost two month in jail, during which he claimed he was tortured. http://bit.ly/1HpI4lw

Migrant boat arrivals in Europe top 150,000 in 2015

The International Organization for Migration (IOM) reported on 10 July that it estimates that some 150,000 migrants have reached Europe by sea to date in 2015. Almost all arrivals were registered in Italy (74,947) or Greece (75,970). Data provided by the Italian Ministry of Interior shows that during the first six months of 2015, some 70,354 migrants arrived on Italian shores – a slight increase from the same period in 2014, when migrants rescued at sea totaled 63,884 through 30 June. Over 1,900 migrants have lost their lives in the Mediterranean so far this year, over twice the number during the same period in 2014. On Monday, 6 July, IOM learned that the remains of five migrants, who were believed to have departed from Libya, were discovered in waters off Tunisia. Until 2015, the rise in Mediterranean Sea arrivals was seen primarily in Italy. Over the course of 2014, it received over three quarters of all arrivals by sea (170,000). During all of last year, 34,442 people arrived in Greece, less than one fifth of the total number of arrivals. http://bit.ly/1GbCMrT

Mexico’s epidemic of missing and murdered women

The Globe and Mail reported on 12 July that six women are being killed every day in Mexico. Over the past two decades, reports Brooke Binkowski in Mexicali, Mexico, the killing or disappearance of women has become so frequent, a new term has entered the country’s lexicon: femicidio. “This issue’s been going on for a long time … the mistreatment of women, especially women of colour, the abuse of women, the disappearance of women. And it’s not only happening on the U.S.-Mexico border, it’s also happening on the U.S.-Canadian border,” says Enrique Morones who runs Border Angels, a volunteer group based in San Diego, that fights for immigration reform. According to the UN, more than 2,500 deaths of women in Mexico every year can be attributed to gender-targeted violence. The National Citizen Femicide Observatory, or OCNF, says at least six women are targeted and killed every day in Mexico. Of those, less than a quarter are investigated. Human Rights Watch says at least 27,000 have gone missing since 2006. http://bit.ly/1HzV8nx

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.