Daily World News Digest, 15 September 2015

Migrant crisis: Tough Hungarian laws take effect

The BBC reported today that Hungary has brought in tough new migrant laws which it says will “start a new era” in preventing the inflow of illegal immigrants. Police can now detain anyone who tries to breach a razor-wire fence on the border with Serbia. On Monday, EU ministers failed to agree unanimously on mandatory quotas to relocate 120,000 asylum seekers. Instead, at the meeting in Brussels, a majority agreed “in principle” and negotiations will now take place ahead of another meeting in October. http://bbc.in/1QBMyeS

UN rights chief urges ”effective and principled migration governance“

The Jurist carried a story on 14 September on UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein’s opening statement on Monday at the 30th session of the UN Human Rights Council, in which he addressed, among other pressing human rights issues, the migrant crisis. In his statement, he commended the efforts of ordinary citizens in Austria, Belgium, Finland, Germany, Sweden and the UK who have opened their homes to refugees and have galvanized politicians to address the crisis. While acknowledging that there are no easy or quick solutions, Hussein implored decision-makers in Africa, the Americas, Asia and the Pacific – as well as Europe – to take swift action to establish effective and principled migration governance. http://bit.ly/1Kc1ls6

Sri Lanka’s Foreign Minister proposes mechanisms for human rights violations before UNHRC

The Daily News from Sri Lanka reported today that the government will set up “independent, credible and empowered mechanisms for truth seeking, justice, reparations and guarantees of non recurrence” within the framework of the Constitution. This was announced by Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera at the General Debate of the 30th Session of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva. He said the government will set up a Commission for Truth, an Office on Missing Persons, and an Office for Reparations and that the Right to Justice will be established as a basic judicial mechanism. http://bit.ly/1ObfmMT

UN seeks broader resistance of arbitrary detention

The Kuwait News Agency reported on 14 September that the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention (WGAD) called on international governments on Monday, to broaden guidelines and procedures against arbitrary detention and on the rights of anyone deprived of their liberty by arrest or detention. In its annual report submitted to the 30th session of UN Human Rights Council, the Working Group stressed the importance of reducing lengthy imposed curfews and preventing the detention of immigrants and refugees. The WGAD annual report revealed that the UN-mandated body had studied 422 cases of enforced disappearances during 2014 in 30 countries. In addition, the group called on 48 different governments to address 435 cases of sudden disappearances. http://bit.ly/1M7ASPh

Human Rights Watch calls on Thailand to free prominent journalist

Human Rights Watch issued a statement today caling on Thailand’s military government immediately to release Pravit Rojanaphruk, a well-known reporter for The Nation newspaper, who has been detained incommunicado since 13 September 2015 for criticizing military rule. Brad Adams, HRW Asia director said the government is expanding its authoritarian control by arbitrarily arresting any and all critics. Pravit, has frequently reported on the suppression of free speech in Thailand since the May 2014 coup. On 13 September, Pravit received a telephone call from an army officer at the 1st Army Region, ordering him to report to the military authority. Representatives of the office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and the Thai Lawyers for Human Rights went with Pravit, but soldiers stopped them from accompanying him when he entered the 1st Army Region headquarters at about 2 p.m. Pravit has not been seen in public since. Last week, the National Council for Peace and Order detained incommunicado two politicians – Pichai Naripatapan and Karun Hosakul – at undisclosed locations because of their vocal opposition to military rule. http://bit.ly/1irKYRr

Massacre victims’ families demand justice in Indonesia

The Jakarta Post carried a story on 14 September saying that human rights activists and families of victims of the 1984 Tanjung Priok massacre have criticized Indonesian President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo’s failure to fulfill his campaign promises to resolve past gross human rights violations. Relatives of the victims said the government should support the recovery of the victims and that the attorney general should be instructed to investigate past gross human rights incidents or cases that have previously been investigated by the National Commission on Human Rights (Komnas).  The Tanjung Priok massacre happened on 12 September 1984, when members of the military opened fire at people protesting against a New Order policy in the North Jakarta neighborhood. According to official reports from Komnas, 24 people lost their lives while 55 suffered major injuries. In an ad hoc human rights trial at the Central Jakarta District Court in 2004, Maj. Gen. Rudolph Adolph Butar-butar and Capt. Sutrisno Mascung were sentenced to 10 and three years in prison, respectively, and others also received sentences. However, all convicts were released a little over a year later. Families said they were disappointed because during the presidential campaign last year, Jokowi had specifically mentioned the Tanjung Priok incident in his mission statement as one of the past human rights abuse cases he would seek to resolve if elected. http://bit.ly/1URwUN1

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.