Daily World News Digest, 19 June 2015

EU: rights abuses at home drive Mediterranean crisis

Human Rights Watch issued a report today highlighting the fact that human rights abuses are driving the surge in boat migration in the Mediterranean. It says EU leaders should put human rights at the heart of the EU’s response. EU leaders will meet on 25 and 26 June to discuss European Commission proposals for a “European Migration Agenda.” The 33-page HRW report, “The Mediterranean Migration Crisis: Why People Flee, What the EU Should Do,” documents human rights abuses driving people to make the dangerous sea crossing and the shortcomings of EU migration and asylum policies. Over 100,000 migrants and asylum seekers have crossed the Mediterranean since the beginning of 2015. According to the UN refugee agency, UNHCR, over 60 percent of those taking the journey come from Syria, Somalia, and Afghanistan, countries torn apart by war and generalized political violence, or from Eritrea, which is ruled by a highly repressive government. http://bit.ly/1esLTzf

Bosnia arrests eight for Ljubuski war crimes

Balkan Insight carried a story on 19 June saying that police have arrested eight former Croatian Defense Council fighters on suspicion that they committed war crimes against Bosniak prisoners detained in Ljubuski in south-west Bosnia and Herzegovina. Officers from the Bosnia and Herzegovina State Investigation and Protection Agency on Thursday arrested the ex-fighters in the towns of Ljubuski, Mostar and Capljina. They are suspected of having committed war crimes and crimes against humanity at the VIZ prison in Ljubuski and at other locations between April 1993 and March 1994 in their capacity as commanders and members of the Croatian Defense Council, military policemen and guards. According to the Bosnian state prosecution, about 200 Bosniaks, including women and children, were detained at the VIZ building in Ljubuski. The detainees were held in inhumane conditions, tortured, abused, beaten and robbed, the prosecution says. http://bit.ly/1CgyVtk

Lawyers: Ex-rebel Serb leader is too ill for UN war crimes trial

The Military Times from the US reported on 18 June that lawyers of a former leader of rebel Serbs in Croatia are urging the Yugoslav war crimes tribunal to drop the case against him because he is terminally ill with brain cancer. In an urgent motion released Thursday by the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia, lawyers for Goran Hadzic say “no reasonable prospect remains of bringing criminal proceedings against Mr. Hadzic to completion” because of his limited life expectancy. They are calling for the case to be halted altogether or permanently stayed. Hadzic was arrested in 2011. http://bit.ly/1flYHHK

Egypt: enforced disappearances of father and son

allAfrica reported on 18 June that the Alkarama Foundation, a Geneva-based human rights group, on 17 June sent an urgent appeal to the United Nations Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances (WGEID) regarding the cases of 54-year-old veterinarian, Dr Salah Attia Mohamed Fiki, and his son, a 20-year-old medicine student, Osama Salah Attia Mohamed Fiki – still a child under Egyptian law – both disappeared since their unlawful arrest by the Egyptian Security Forces on 23 April 2015. Despite numerous steps taken by the Fiki family to locate their relatives, the authorities continue to deny their detention, Alkarama says. Nearly two months after their enforced disappearances, their relatives continue to ask their whereabouts at the State Security Court and in various police stations of Kafr El Sheikh, north of Cairo, despite regular threats by the security forces. Alkarama also urged the WGEID to request a country visit to Egypt to assess the level of compliance of the authorities with their international obligations and to take effective measures to put an end to the practice of enforced disappearances. http://bit.ly/1GvH3dz

Missing family: Plea made to halt child Islamic State travelers

The Bradford Telegraph and Argus reported on 18 June that people who are caught trying to take their children to war zones such as Iraq or Syria should face the possibility of having their children taken into care for their own safety, according to a former senior prosecutor. Nazir Afzal, who led the Crown Prosecution Service in north-west England from 2011 until earlier this year, said authorities should “resort to law” in cases where children are at risk of being taken to areas controlled by Islamic State. His comments come amid mounting fears that Bradford sisters Khadija Dawood, 30, Sugra Dawood, 34, and Zohra Dawood, 33, and their nine children, aged between three and 15, have travelled to link up with Islamic State in Syria. Last year the British Government outlined plans to prevent hundreds of young British Muslims from travelling to Iraq and Syria to fight with extremist militants by temporarily removing their passports. http://bit.ly/1CgxQ4A

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.