Daily World News Digest, 19 March 2015

#Every90Seconds: Significant facts about missing kids

The WUSA9 News portal reports today that in the United States a child goes missing approximately once every 90 seconds, adding that, according to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, nearly 800,000 children are reported missing in a year; approximately 10% of those children are classified as non-family abductions; the most prevalent type of reported missing children in the US are runaway or abandoned children; and one in six endangered runaways reported to the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children in 2014 were likely sex trafficking victims. http://on.wusa9.com/1FHwfsS

Thailand urged to investigate alleged torture in military custody

Human Rights Watch issued a statement on 18 March calling on the authorities in Thailand to investigate the alleged torture of suspects held incommunicado in military custody. Four suspects in a grenade attack on the Bangkok criminal court alleged that they were tortured while being held in military custody from 9 to 15 March, according to the legal defense group Thai Lawyers for Human Rights. Human Rights Watch has repeatedly raised serious concerns regarding the use of secret military detention by the ruling National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO). Since the May 2014 coup, the NCPO, headed by Prime Minister Gen. Prayuth Chan-ocha, has detained hundreds of politicians, activists, journalists, and people they accuse of supporting the deposed government, disrespecting or offending the monarchy, or being involved in anti-coup protests and activities. The NCPO continually refuses to provide information about people in secret detention, Human Rights Watch said, noting that the risk of enforced disappearance, torture, and other ill-treatment significantly increases when detainees are held incommunicado in military detention. http://bit.ly/1CyzsMe

“Operation Smile” helps recover 2,500 missing children in India

The Economic Times of India reported on 18 March that a missing persons initiative started by police in Ghaziabad near New Delhi has been taken up by police in other parts of India. Ghaziabad police reported at the end of 2014 that they had been able to recover 227 missing children within 30 days by launching a campaign, “Operation Smile”. At least eight states have subsequently reported that they were able to rescue more than 2,500 missing children in January alone by emulating the Ghaziabad campaign. In Ghaziabad more than 100 officers of different ranks were sensitized and trained on issues related to missing children and then sent to other cities to recover missing children in relation to reports lodged in Ghaziabad. Officers visited shelter homes, railway platforms, bus stands, spaces below flyovers and religious places in these cities to find that most children living there were part of the missing children databases. http://bit.ly/1xAC8lf

DR Congo: mass arrests of activists

Human Rights Watch issued a statement on 18 March noting that the arrest of at least 26 activists and others in Kinshasa on 15 March “raises serious concerns of a broader crackdown on free expression” before the 2016 Democratic Republic of Congo presidential elections. It called on UN Security Council members, who are due to discuss the situation in DRC on 19 March, to publicly press Congolese authorities to immediately release all those detained for peaceful activities and speech. It notes that detainees have not been brought before a judge, officially charged with offenses, or had access to their lawyers or families, raising concerns for their safety. http://bit.ly/19yhs87

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.