Daily World News Digest, 18 September 2015

Sri Lanka vows to punish war criminals but resists international investigation

The Gulf Times, a daily from Qatar, reported on 17 September that Sri Lanka has promised to punish those found guilty of war crimes but has stopped short of supporting an internationally backed probe, a day after a damning UN report on abuses committed during the island’s conflict. Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera said the government would work with the international community to ensure accountability and reconciliation following the island’s separatist war, which ended in 2009. But Samaraweera did not commit to the UN’s key recommendation to allow international experts to assist its domestic investigation, saying more discussions were needed with stakeholders. He said the government would establish its own “credible, domestic mechanism” within 18 months to probe allegations in the UN report. He said whoever is responsible, if proved, will be punished without considering their rank or position. http://bit.ly/1MttqB5

Human Rights Council: Protect North Koreans from abductions

Human Rights Watch issued a statement today calling on Human Rights Council member countries to help victims of human rights violations fleeing persecution in North Korea. China in particular should either shelter such people or permit North Koreans leaving their country to pass through without fear of arrest and being returned to a country where their lives or freedom may be at risk, HRW said. A 2014 report by the UN Commission of Inquiry found that since 1950, the North Korean government has systematically kidnapped nationals from China, Japan, South Korea, Thailand, Europe, and the Middle East. Pyongyang forced them to stay in North Korea, where the commission found that gross, pervasive, and systemic human rights abuses take place at a scale and gravity without parallel in the contemporary world. http://bit.ly/1iBfkBc

Mexico party rejects Day of Condemnation of Forced Disappearances

The Telesur news portal reported on 17 September that lawmakers from the ruling Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) in Mexico have rejected a proposal to declare 26 September as the “Day of Condemnation of Forced Disappearances” during a debate in the House of Representatives. The date, 26 September, marks the one-year anniversary of the abduction of 43 students from the Ayotzinapa teachers training college. The PRI has been the subject of intense criticism over its handling of forced disappearances. The party and its allies have instead proposed that the date is commemorated as the “Day of the Victims of Ayotzinapa.” http://bit.ly/1NGuRwk

Abduction of activist has revived spirit of protest in Zimbabwe

The New Zimbabwe news portal reported on 17 September that the abduction of journalist and activist Itai Dzamara has revived the spirit of protest in the country and brought about a “progressive” and “positive anger“, according to Bishop Ancelimo Magaya, who was speaking on Tuesday at the official launch of the Itai Dzamara Trust in Harare. Dzamara was abducted by suspected state security agents six months ago after he staged a series of protests calling on “failed (President Robert) Mugabe” to resign. Before his abduction he was severely assaulted by the cops and was hospitalized. His whereabouts remain unknown despite a High Court order which directed the government to search and find him. The Trust is intended to encourage democratic forces to challenge the government to respect and observe human rights. http://bit.ly/1MtwAVn

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.