Daily World News Digest, 19 December 2017

Swiss grant helps identify migrants lost at sea

Thanks to a donation of $400,000 (340,000 euros) from Switzerland, the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) will work over the next two years to set up a program to locate and identify people who have died during perilous journeys across the Mediterranean. About 8,000 migrants are known to have died in Italian waters alone in the past decade, ICMP director Kathryne Bomberger said. With the new Swiss funding, ICMP will work with Italy, Greece, Cyprus and Malta “to take stock of where they stand” in efforts to account for the missing. http://bit.ly/2kgvOSj

Missing migrants in southern Arizona

The remains of nearly 3,000 immigrants who died after illegally crossing the border have been found since 2001 in southern Arizona, the deadliest corridor along the southwestern border of the US. Nearly 1,000 have yet to be identified, while hundreds of missing migrants who are believed to have perished still haven’t been found, and may never be. In other US border states, the deaths of hundreds of border crossers go uncounted because local authorities don’t track or report them. As a result, many families are forced to live with the agonizing uncertainty of not knowing if their loved one is alive or dead.  http://bit.ly/2BH55Ih

Slavery in the Asia-Pacific region

Statistics from the Global Slavery Index show that documented cases of slavery recorded in the Americas, Africa, the Middle East, Europe and Russia combined, amounted to approximately 17 million in 2016, compared to more than 30 million cases in the Asia-Pacific region. “Tremendous efforts” are required to tackle the slavery “epidemic” in the Asia-Pacific region, a conference held on Monday at Bangkok’s Chulalongkorn University was told. http://bit.ly/2CElqur

Myanmar military investigating mass grave in Rakhine state

Myanmar’s army has announced that security forces have discovered a mass grave on the edge of a village in Rakhine State, and have launched an investigation. The army said the unidentified bodies had been found at a cemetery in the village of Inn Din, about 50 kilometers north of the state capital, Sittwe. It is not yet known how many bodies were uncovered. http://bit.ly/2CZdLI5

UN: attacks on Rohingya may constitute genocide

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein has indicated that Myanmar authorities planned the violent attacks on the country’s Rohingya minority. He warned that the attacks may constitute genocide. http://bit.ly/2CCO1jR

Yezidi women struggle to return to daily life

Yezidi women who were sold as sex slaves by Da’esh militants are returning to their families from formerly Da’esh-controlled territories. A witness describes how around 70 members of her wider family are still missing. Some were young women who were sold. The men are believed to have been killed. http://to.pbs.org/2AVI00Y

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.