Daily World News Digest, 19 April 2016

Migrant crisis: Hundreds dead after capsize, say survivors

The BBC reported today that hundreds of migrants drowned when their boat capsized in the Mediterranean, survivors have told the BBC – although there is no official confirmation. The 41 survivors say they were transferred to another vessel when it sank in the middle of the night. They said that up to 500 people died, but coastguards in the region have been unable to confirm their accounts. According to the survivors, about 240 migrants left the Libyan port city of Tobruk heading for Italy. Once out in the Mediterranean, they said they were transferred to a larger boat already packed with more than 300 people, which then capsized. http://bbc.in/1U1VIp7

Nearly six hundred migrants arrive in Italy

The Wall Street Journal reported on 18 April that nearly 600 migrants were rescued and brought to Italy between Sunday and Monday, the International Organization for Migration said Monday. Some 460 rescued migrants were brought to the port of Augusta, in Sicily, an IOM spokesman said. Among them, rescuers found two wounded by gunshots. Another 100 people were discovered on their way to Lampedusa on Monday in a rubber boat; rescuers found six dead migrants on that boat. Both vessels had left from Libya. The total number of migrants and refugees reaching Italy in April is nearly 6,200. http://on.wsj.com/26auv8v

Cyprus: Decision reached to open UNFICYP archives on missing persons

Famagusta Gazette, a daily from Cyprus, reported today that a decision has been taken to study the archives of the UN peace-keeping force in Cyprus (UNFICYP), in relation to information on missing persons, Presidential Commissioner for Humanitarian Affairs Fotis Fotiou said. According to Fotiou, the request relating to UNFICYP archives was submitted 15 years ago, but was granted only recently, after pressure applied by the Greek Cypriot side and the permanent members of the UN Security Council. In total, almost 1.000 persons are considered to be still missing. http://bit.ly/22JYsaY

Torture and illegal detention on the rise in Burundi – UN rights chief

UN News Center issued a statement on 18 April saying that the UN human rights chief, Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, today warned of a “sharp increase in the use of torture and ill-treatment in Burundi” and voiced concerns about worrying reports of the existence of illegal detention facilities, both in Bujumbura and in the countryside. OHCHR estimates that some 595 people have been ill-treated or tortured since April 2015. The High Commissioner said he had also received “persistent reports of arrest, detention, torture, ill-treatment, enforced disappearances and assassination of certain members of the police and military by other government forces.” http://bit.ly/1NyMfPp

Mogherini demands investigation into fate of Gambia opposition activist

EurActiv news portal reported today that the EU foreign affairs chief, Federica Mogherini, has demanded an urgent investigation from the Gambian authorities after a leading opposition activist was arrested – with Amnesty International reporting he has already died in police custody. Solo Sandeng, the national organizing secretary of the opposition United Democratic Party (UDP) was arrested on 14 April along with other demonstrators at a peaceful protest. Fate of Sandeng remains unknown. Gambia has not implemented the judgments of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Court of Justice in three cases related to journalists including enforced disappearances. http://bit.ly/22K2jER

EU/Greece: First Turkey deportations riddled with abuse

Human Rights Watch issued a statement today saying that the first round of EU-sanctioned deportations of 66 people from the Greek island of Chios to Turkey on 4 April, 2016 was rushed, chaotic, and violated the rights of those deported. Based on interviews and text messages exchanged between interviewed refugees and the deportees, Human Rights Watch documented an array of irregularities and violations. In Turkey, the detained deportees lost contact with family and friends held in Greece, and Turkish authorities have not allowed visits by rights groups or the UN. The authorities did not inform people that they were going to be deported, did not tell them where they were being taken, and did not allow some of them to take their personal possessions. http://bit.ly/1qCDVsK

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.