Daily World News Digest, 15 February 2016

New mass grave discovered in eastern Syria

Press TV, Iranian broadcasting service, reported today that security authorities in Syria say locals have found a new mass grave in the country’s embattled eastern province of Dayr al-Zawr, which is believed to be containing the remains of tens of people executed by Daesh terrorists. The residents uncovered the grave on the outskirts of Marat Village, located more than 450 kilometers (280 miles) northeast of the capital, Damascus, on Sunday. The source said that the mass grave is thought to contain the remains of more than 100 civilians, among them children, who were killed by Daesh when Marat fell several months ago. http://bit.ly/1RF9wVr

Egypt: 25 reappear in Alexandria after reported enforced disappearances

Daily News Egypt carried a story on 14 February saying that after nine days of reported enforced disappearance, around 25 persons who were arrested from their households earlier this month appeared Saturday in Al-Montazah Police station in Alexandria, according to the Egyptian Centre for economic and Social Rights (ECESR). Nineteen of 25 were reportedly arrested on 4 and 5 February and were forcibly disappeared afterwards. However, they reappeared Saturday and were charged with belonging to an outlawed group, having fireworks, and Molotov cocktails, and setting fire to ATMs and to vehicles belonging to the police forces. http://bit.ly/1ofC2AX

UN: Syrian families plagued by disappearances

News24 reported on 13 February that UN experts have raised the alarm over enforced disappearances in Syria, which has been ravaged by conflict for nearly five years and where they said families have “no recourse”. Houria es-Slami, chairperson of a working group on disappearances, told a media conference in Morocco: “We remain very concerned about Syria where there is a practice of enforced disappearance”. Another member of the panel, Ariel Dulitzky, called for the situation in Syria to be referred to the International Criminal Court. Amnesty said nearly 60 000 civilians were believed to have “disappeared” since Syria’s conflict began. http://bit.ly/1SPCeUT

North Korea halts abduction probe, dissolves committee

Japan Times reported on 13 February that the North Korean government announced Friday it would stop its investigation into the abduction of Japanese nationals and that the Special Investigation Committee that was carrying out the work would be dissolved. The investigation had been under way since July 2014. Talks between the Japanese and North Korean governments in May 2014 in Stockholm led to an agreement to set up a committee to reinvestigate the abductees’ whereabouts and other issues. The committee was composed of four subcommittees, which handled the abduction issue, missing persons, the remains of Japanese nationals, and Japanese nationals and spouses of Japanese nationals left behind in North Korea. http://bit.ly/1QgxZkP

UN: Less enforced disappearances in the world

Africa News issued a news on 13 February saying that the UN Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances has concluded its 108th session in Rabat, Morocco. Using a UN criteria, the group exchanged information on individual cases and discussed thematic issues related to enforced disappearances.  “We can say that there are improvements in many countries including Morocco, there are no more enforced disappearances taking place here than in other parts of the world,” Chair of the Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances Ariel Dulitzky said. ‘‘In many countries there is no proper investigation of cases of enforced disappearances from the past,” he added. http://bit.ly/1U2MiJh

Sri Lanka to work with Red Cross on the issue of missing persons

The Economic Times reported on 13 February that the ICRC has decided to work with the Sri Lankan government in assisting families of those reported missing during the nearly-three decade long separatist conflict. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs held a meeting with the ICRC delegation and discussed the pressing issue of more than 20,000 missing persons complaints which the government has received since 2013. The complaints relate to those missing from the government troops and Tamil minority. The Ministry outlined the steps that have been taken so far including the Certificates of Absence.  http://bit.ly/1SPBn6L

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.