Daily World News Digest, 20 February 2017

Sri Lanka: missing persons commissions criticized

The Hindu published an article yesterday on missing persons in Sri Lanka. According to Amnesty, the Sri Lankan state has received 65,000 complaints of disappearances since 1995. There have been at least six commissions appointed by the government since the 1990s to look into disappearances but none has made a difference to the families, the article says. “In many cases, relatives give very specific details of where the missing person was last seen and even name the suspected perpetrator,” a community worker in Batticaloa told The Hindu recently. However, such details have at best remained in government files, with every panel raising hopes and making families relive the trauma as they recount what happened. http://bit.ly/2kPGpAW 

UN urges governments to endorse Convention on Enforced Disappearances 

Pakistan Today published an article on 18 February about the forthcoming 10th anniversary of the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance (ICPPED), noting that the United Nations has urged all governments that have not yet done so to ratify the treaty. The UN General Assembly adopted the ICPPED on 20 December 2006. It was opened for signature the following February. The article qoted UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein as saying that the practice of enforced disappearance is not decreasing, but “morphing”. “In the context of migration, internal conflict, transnational organized crime, humanitarian crises and the struggle against violent extremism, we are seeing new and alarming patterns of enforced disappearance.” http://bit.ly/2lm7Ap7 

Pakistani court order gives hope to relatives of missing persons

The News International reports today that the Peshawar High Court (PHC) has addressed the long delays in submission of replies by law-enforcement agencies in missing persons cases. The court has asked the federal and provincial governments to provide the details of all the missing persons whose cases were pending before the court. “We want to know if the missing persons are with you or not. We want immediate response in this regard,” Chief Justice Yahya Afridi said. http://bit.ly/2lBPKB5

Cyprus continues searching for missing persons

The Greek Reporter reported yesterday that in the past ten years 558 Greek Cypriots and 184 Turkish Cypriots who were missing were identified and their remains returned to their families. However, for the families of 950 Greek Cypriots and 309 Turkish Cypriots who are still missing, time is running out. This year marks the tenth anniversary of the program of excavation and exhumation across the island to recover the remains of Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots who have been missing since the Turkish invasion of Cyprus in 1974. The grim task has been undertaken by the Committee on Missing Persons. Over the past year, the CMP has doubled its laboratory capacity and increased the number of bone samples sent for DNA extraction. It relies on substantial donor assistance and the EU contributes 75 percent of the funds needed. http://bit.ly/2mdY0DK

Human remains discovered in Zimbabwe  

Bulawayo 24 News reported yesterday that an opposition party in Zimbabwe’s second city, Bulawayo, has announced that human remains found in Cowdray Park on the outskirts of the city belong to victims of the Gukurahundi campaign instigated by the ruling Zanu PF regime in the 1980s to root out opposition. The human remains were exposed as a result of recent heavy rain. http://bit.ly/2kDufQw

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.