Daily World News Digest, 17 February 2016

Number of murdered or missing indigenous women in Canada “may be as high as 4,000”

The Telegraph reported today that the number of missing or murdered native women in Canada may be as high as 4,000, with the government admitting the “tragedy is much wider” than previously thought. Canada’s minister of indigenous affairs on Tuesday accused police of failing to investigate possibly thousands of murders of indigenous women that their families say were wrongly classified as suicide, accidental death or by natural cause. Canada’s minister for the status of women, Patty Hajdu, said that the research from the Native Women’s Association of Canada (NWAC) indicated the toll was about 4,000. http://bit.ly/1RM90VD

Refugees are going missing at the Greece-Macedonia border

Newsweek, a weekly from the US, carried a story on 16 February saying that tighter restrictions on the Greece-Macedonia border are leading to refugees slipping off the authorities’ radar, according to experts working in the region. Representatives from Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) and the Greek Council for Refugees (GCR) tell that people who are not allowed to cross the border are going missing. “People who do not come from the countries of Syria, Iraq, and Afghanistan cannot cross the borders. Therefore they are trying to cross the border illegally making themselves potential victims of smuggling and trafficking,” says Fotini Barka, a spokesperson for the GCR. http://bit.ly/1TnEJw7

Cyprus: CMP moving forward to heal old wounds

In-Cyprus news portal reported on 16 February that the Committee of Missing Persons (CMP) has so far discovered the remains of around 1,600-2,000 persons. The announcement was made by Turkish Cypriot member, Gulden Plumer Kucuk, during an appearance by the group’s heads on local broadcaster this week. Kucuk said the work of the committee in finding the remains was important as it helped bring closure to bereaved families. She went on to note that their efforts were continuing and urged anyone with information or knowledge of the whereabouts of missing persons to come forward. Greek Cypriot committee member Nestoras Nestoros also spoke to BRT, saying he believed the CMP’s work had a positive impact on both communities. http://bit.ly/1PQ1OmH

UN: Support accountability panel on North Korea

Human Rights Watch issued a news today saying that Human Rights Watch and 13 other groups said today in a joint letter to member states of United Nations Human Rights Council that they should support the creation of a panel of experts to ensure accountability for rights abuses in North Korea when it takes up a resolution on the country next month. A 2014 UN Commission of Inquiry (COI) on Human Rights in North Korea found that crimes against humanity, including extermination, murder, rape, deliberate starvation, and enforced disappearances, have been committed “pursuant to policies at the highest level of the state.” http://bit.ly/1SRODrs

Egyptian rights group demands action on fate of Christians kidnapped by IS

Middle East Eye carried a story on 16 February saying that an Egyptian rights group has renewed a call to Libyan authorities to help find out the fate of eight Egyptian Christians kidnapped by the Islamic State (IS) group in Libya, more than a year since they disappeared. The commission’s statement recounted the kidnapping of the workers, beginning with brothers Jamal, Rafat and Romani Hakim, and their cousin Adel Hakim, who disappeared on 24 August 2014. Similar disappearances continued to happen. In its statement, the commission asked the Egyptian authorities to undertake all actions required to disclose any information on the kidnapped workers. http://bit.ly/1oILfCy

Rights defenders: Political prisoners tripled under President Xi Jinping

La Prensa, a daily from Panama, reported on 16 February that the number of political prisoners in China has almost tripled since President Xi Jinping came to power a little over three years ago, says Hong Kong-based human rights nonprofit, Chinese Human Rights Defenders (CHRD) in its annual report published on Tuesday. The organization says, in 2015, Chinese authorities detained 22 human rights defenders suspected of “political crimes” and accused of subverting State power.The number of detentions of human rights defenders, however, exceeded 700 in 2015. Arrest, interrogation and enforced disappearances of over 300 lawyers in July sowed terror among members of the community. Over twenty of those lawyers continue to be in custody. http://bit.ly/1SRPAjs

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.