Daily World News Digest, 14 November 2016

Mass grave discovered as Iraqi forces advance on Mosul

Yahoo news carried a story on 12 November describing how fighters of so-called Islamic State drove thousands of civilians across the Nineveh desert, retreating ahead of Iraqi advances on Mosul. It says IS fighters rounded up men, women and children for use as human shields and killed dozens of others. When Iraqi forces began to close in on a cluster of villages along the Tigris River valley, most of the militants fled into Mosul, taking thousands of civilians with them. But before the retreat, IS fighters also led hundreds to a garbage dump past an old IS training camp and shot them, leaving the bodies among the piles of trash. https://yhoo.it/2eSc8ic

Systematic “government campaign” of disappearances in Syria

Al Jazeera carried an article yesterday on what it says has been a government campaign of disappearances in Syria. “The countless disappearances reveal the relentless death machine secretly set up by the government in Damascus,” Al Jazeera says, “Teenagers are rounded up in their schools, protesters are sent in trucks to unknown destinations, and passers-by are arbitrarily arrested.” According to the Syrian Network for Human Rights, more than 65,000 people have vanished in Syria since 2011. Beyond this, over 200,000 people are currently being detained by the Syrian regime. http://bit.ly/2eWF5Nd

At least 130 arrested after protests across Egypt

The Independent reported on 12 November that at least 130 people have been arrested in Egypt after taking part in protests against poor economic conditions and rising prices. Demonstrations were held in towns and cities across the country including Cairo, Suez and Behiera province, after calls were made by protest groups on social media to rally against President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi. But the protests are said to have been largely stifled by police, who were on high alert. UN observers and human rights groups have raised concern over the use of counter-terrorism laws to target supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood and reports of torture, enforced disappearances and deaths in custody. Human Rights Watch’s 2016 world report warned of worsening restrictions of freedom of expression and association, as well as the targeting of NGOs since General el-Sisi took power in 2014 after the country’s first democratically elected President was ousted in a military coup. http://ind.pn/2fLqJwz

Pakistan security forces accused of killings in “fake encounters”

The New Indian Express reported yesterday that Pakistani security forces have handed over four bodies, including that of a 14-year-old boy, to the District Headquarters Hospital at Gwadar in southwestern Balochistan. A press release issued here by the Baloch Human Rights Organisation (BHRO) claimed that the security forces had eliminated the four persons in a fake joint operation in the Belar and Kulanch areas of Gwadar district. The BHRO also claimed that one person had also been arrested, and added that the four persons killed had been missing for months and years. The BHRO said that in October 2016, it had received reports of more than 210 enforced disappearances and 57 persons being reportedly killed in different incidents by Pakistan’s security forces. http://bit.ly/2fOVS28

Exhibition highlights missing persons process in Cyprus

The Famagusta Gazette reports today that a photo exhibition on the work of the Committee on Missing Persons in Cyprus has opened at the Palais des Nations in Geneva. The event was hosted jointly by UN Director-General Michael Møller and President of the International Committee of the Red Cross Peter Maurer. Beneath the Carob Trees, “depicts the efforts undertaken by the CMP’s scientists to locate, exhume, identify and return to their families the remains of persons who went missing during the events of 1963-4 and 1974”. In his opening speech, Director-General Møller paid tribute to the work of the Committee’s scientists noting that “at every stage of the process, Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot scientists work alongside each other”. http://bit.ly/2fOQL25

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.