Daily World News Digest, 17 January 2017

What’s in store for Pakistan’s missing activists?

Deutsche Welle published an article on the disappearance of social media activists in Pakistan, with demonstrators demanding that the government recover four bloggers, writers, social media activists and human rights workers who disappeared recently, as well as other possible victims of enforced disappearance. Some rights groups blame the security agencies for the apparent abductions while some accuse militant groups. http://bit.ly/2jC8WL7

UK, US statements on Pakistan disappearances criticized

Daily Pakistan reported yesterday that Pakistan Senate Chair Mian Raza Rabbani had described statements by the US and Britain regarding recent disappearances in Pakistan as inappropriate, noting that “These countries remain silent to missing persons in Indian Occupied Kashmir and extra judicial killing of innocent persons in Kashmir and Palestine.” http://bit.ly/2jgOuiU 

Pakistan: change seen in pattern of enforced disapearances

Dawn reported yesterday that the recent disappearances of bloggers and human rights activists are significant as they mark a notable change in the profile of those missing. Defense analysts and lawmakers say the disappearances show that the definition of “anti-state elements” is evolving in Pakistan. Over the past decade and a half, the groups of people who have gone missing have shifted. In the early 2000s, under the regime of retired Gen Pervez Musharraf, those speaking in favor of militancy or calling for the enforcement of Sharia law went missing. The next wave of disappearances targeted nationalist elements, such as the missing activists from Balochistan. This latest wave of disappearances, however, seems to be targeting those speaking against the narrative of the state, the article said. http://bit.ly/2jrek6v

Taiwan to set up national human right institution

Focus Taiwan carried a story a report on 16 January stating that Taiwan’s government plans to establish a national human rights institution (NHRI) to meet the set of international standards known as the Paris Principles. The NHRI will serve as an instrument in the promotion and protection of human rights and the prevention of major violations, Vice President Chen Chien-jen said at the opening ceremony of the international meeting for the review of the Republic of China’s national report on the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR). Vice President Chen also noted that three of the nine core international human rights treaties have not yet become law in Taiwan, including the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment. The other two are the International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families, and the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance, he said. http://bit.ly/2jBOWZ8

Call for immediate investigation of disappearances in Burma

Human Rights Watch and Fortify Rights issued a statement on 15 January calling on Burmese authorities to provide information on the whereabouts and well-being of two ethnic Kachin Baptist leaders believed to have been forcibly disappeared in Northern Shan State. Langjaw Gam Seng, 35, and Dumdaw Nawng Lat, 65, who had guided journalists reporting on Burmese airstrikes that allegedly severely damaged a Catholic church, were last seen on 24 December traveling to a military base. The disappearances raise grave concerns for the safety of the two men and witnesses to the incident, the two organizations said. The Burmese government and military should immediately address these issues and allow visiting United Nations human rights expert to visit the area. http://bit.ly/2iG5WPr

Texas: Volunteers exhume dozens of unidentified migrants

The Monitor reports today that remains of two dozen unidentified migrants were recently found in Texas stacked on top of each other, some buried two- to four-feet deep in nothing but plastic bags.  Many of the bodies found still intact had no signs of an autopsy being performed and no documentation from the county or the cemetery available to help identify them, said Kate Spradley, associate professor of anthropology at Texas State University. “The counties need the budget to send the bodies for an autopsy or anthropology and they need to ensure that DNA is taken,” she added. “And if they are going to bury them, the (justice of the peace) is required by law to record where they are buried, and nobody is doing that.” http://bit.ly/2jELKvG

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.