Daily World News Digest, 15 November 2016

Colombia government, rebels reach new peace agreement

Jurist.org reported on 13 November that the Colombian government and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Columbia (FARC) reached a peace agreement on Saturday to end the guerrilla warfare that has plagued the country for more than five decades. Meeting in Havana, the two sides solidified a new deal that alters the deal voters rejected in last month’s referendum. The new deal includes provisions for FARC fighters to face jail and community service, for the FARC to turn over financial information, and for investigations of crimes to begin within a narrower window of the next two years. It is unclear whether the new agreement will also face a voter referendum for approval. http://bit.ly/2gct7Ra

Macedonia: convicted war criminal runs for parliament

Balkan Insight reported yesterday that the ruling VMRO DPMNE party has nominated Johan Tarculovski, the only Macedonian convicted by the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, as a candidate in parliamentary elections on 11 December. A VMRO DPMNE source told Balkan Insight on Monday that the nomination of Tarculovski, who served eight years in jail for war crimes against ethnic Albanian civilians during the 2001 Macedonia armed conflict, that the party was proud to have him as a candidate despite his conviction. “I see nothing unexpected in his candidacy. Tarculovski is a true patriot who unjustly served years in jail for defending Macedonia,” the source said on condition of anonymity. “We are proud to have him as our member and our opinion polls show that he has a high standing among voters, so nothing unusual here,” the source added. Tarculovski, a former policeman, served eight years of his 12-year jail term before he was granted early release in 2013. http://bit.ly/2fraYxO

Activists protest new international trade route in southwest Pakistan

Yibada.com, a US portal that focuses on Chinese affairs, carried an article yesterday about the new international trade route that was formally opened in southwest Pakistan on 13 November. The new route was developed in 2015 by China through the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) as part of its “One Belt, One Road” initiative. It passes through Balochistan, where the initiative has faced strong opposition from groups that say the project does not benefit local residents. Between 2001 and 2013, about 18,000 have been reported missing, according to the International Voice for Baloch Missing Persons (IIVBMP), a group formed by families of missing people in Balochistan. http://bit.ly/2fUBf6c

EU urged to probe mass graves and use of pellet guns in Kashmir

The Pakistan Observer reports today that the Prime Minister of Azad Jammu and Kashmir, Muhammad Raja Farooq Haider Khan, on Monday called on the European Union to probe mass graves and the use of pellet guns by India security forces in Indian-administered Kashmir. He called on the European Union to send a fact finding mission to Indian-administered Kashmir. http://bit.ly/2eACMAS

At least nine dead in Nigerian clashes

Voice of America reported yesterday that nine people were killed in clashes between Shi’ite Muslims and police during a religious procession in northern Nigeria on Monday, according to the Police, while the minority sect said dozens of its members lost their lives. The clashes occurred on the outskirts of Kano, a city in a state of the same name, as members of the country’s largest Shi’ite group, the Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN), conducted an annual procession to Zaria in neighboring Kaduna state. It was the latest in a series of incidents involving the sect. A judicial inquiry in August reported that 347 IMN members were killed and buried in mass graves after clashes with the army in December 2015, and two sect members were killed in processions in Kaduna state last month. http://bit.ly/2fApd1d

ICC Chief Prosecutor defends position on Gambia

Jollofnews, an African news portal, reported yesterday that the Chief Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) has rejected accusations that she has turned a blind eye on gross human rights abuses committed by the Gambian regime of President Yahya Jammeh. The Gambian government has been accused by right groups including Human Rights Watch of carrying out enforced disappearances, arbitrary detention, torture, and other human rights violations. The regime is also accused of routinely targeting voices of dissent, including journalists, human rights defenders, political opponents and critics, as well as lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people. “It is not my duty, my responsibility or doesn’t fall within my mandate particularly as Prosecutor of the ICC to pronounce or to advise favorably or not any government including my government on political issues. I have not done it for any country and will not do it for my own country,” Mr Bom Bensounda said in a video that was made in January but posted online recently by Gambian activists. The ICC Prosecutor, who served as attorney general, Minister of Justice and chief adviser, added: “When I speak out and make a declared statement, am urging people not to commit crimes that falls within the jurisdiction of the ICC. This is my responsibility, I am not the commissioner for human rights.” http://bit.ly/2fTrVl4

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.