Daily World News Digest, 2 December 2015

Former Sri Lanka President advocates Special Court on missing persons and war crimes

Daily News from Sri Lanka reported today that former President, Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga, yesterday said that reconciliation cannot happen without accepting the mistakes of the past and the injustices committed to minorities. Former President Kumaratunga was addressing the press as the Head of the Office for National Unity and Reconciliation (ONUR) appointed by President Maithripala Sirisena. ‘’The previous Government’s lack of accountability made us lose face with the international community’’. She added that the accountability process would be four-pronged, to include a Missing Persons Office, a Special Court for investigation of cases of war crimes, a compensatory instrument, and a mandate to ensure non-recurrence. http://bit.ly/1RlF4ie

Security agents say missing youth have joined al Shabaab

The Star, a daily from Kenya, carried a story today saying that there is concern that thousands of youth reportedly missing from learning institutions or their homes might have been recruited into the militant group and travelled to Somalia for training. In early October eight persons suspected for radicalizing and recruiting into al Shabaab, al Qaeda affiliate in Somalia, have been arrested. Although the police managed to rescue the 20 children, some 20 others are reported to have been sneaked out to Somalia earlier. Security agents say these acts constitute ‘’enforced disappearances’’. Hundreds of desperate families across the country have reported the disappearance of their children, most of whom have since been confirmed to have travelled to Somalia to join al Shabaab militants. Apart from targeting schools, universities and other learning institutions, the recruiters are eyeing vulnerable youth, especially those who are idle and economically disenfranchised. http://bit.ly/1NpROCU

Mexico to create special office to investigate disappearances

Telesur news portal reported on 1 December that parents of the 43 disappeared Ayotzinapa students agreed to pack up their protest tents Tuesday after receiving positive news from the government, which finally agreed to some of their demands. Mexico’s attorney general’s office agreed Monday to create a special office devoted to cases of disappearances that will continue the search for the 43 students who disappeared in September of 2014 in the state of Guererro. The independent body will be made up of a group of experts from the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights and will start with a whole new line of investigation. Parents of the students have long been asking for an investigative body to continue with the case independently of state influence, and have not given up demanding that their children be returned. http://bit.ly/1jxZiYj

Families report “forced disappearance” of youth in Egypt

Daily News Egypt carried a story on 1 December saying that Sherif El-Afifi has been missing for six days, according to complaints from his family. His sister, Ghada, said that security forces stormed their house in Nahia, Giza, Thursday afternoon and took the young man into custody. “Around 2pm, the police broke into our house. They were over a dozen, masked and armed, and they destroyed the apartment,” Ghada said. “Since then we do not know his whereabouts,” Ghada said. She insists that her brother, 26-year-old university graduate has no political affiliation. Young activists from Nahia have started campaigning for El-Afifi expressing solidarity, while another young persons was reported missing in Nahia. Arrests have been ongoing since 3 July 2013. The areas of Nahia and Kerdasa, located in Giza, have witnessed bloody clashes between security forces and supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood. http://bit.ly/1RlLttO

UN: Bad weather reduced number of migrants and refugees reaching Europe

Al Jazeera America carried a story on 1 December saying that an estimated 140,000 refugees and migrants reached Europe by sea in November — a big drop from October the UN refugee agency said on Tuesday. “The monthly figure for November is the first one this year that actually shows a decrease compared to the previous one,” William Spindler of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees told a news briefing. Some 220,000 were recorded in October. “The reasons for the slowdown in the number of arrivals have to do with fluctuating climate conditions in the Aegean but also a crackdown on smuggling by Turkish authorities.” “It is not unrealistic to say we could reach 1 million by the end of the year,” Spindler said. http://bit.ly/1MUVRph

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.