Daily World News Digest, 20 February 2018

Myanmar government is “bulldozing Rohingya mass grave to hide evidence”

The government of Myanmar is bulldozing over the site of a Rohingya mass grave in an effort to destroy evidence of a massacre committed last year by the military, according to a rights monitoring group. Chris Lewa, director of the Arakan Project, said the bulldozing appears to be part of an effort to hide evidence of the grave permanently following exposés that appeared in the press. “Two of the mass graves sites we know about have appeared in the media, but on Thursday one of the other mass grave sites was bulldozed. This means that evidence of the killings is being destroyed.“ http://bit.ly/2CvDCpH

Governments switch from outright murder to enforced disappearance

Fear of scrutiny has prompted governments to switch from brazenly killing their opponents to forcing them to disappear. As of September 2017, the UN Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances – which began collecting data in 1980 – had been notified of 45,120 active disappearance cases involving 91 states. An article in The Journal of Human Rights reports that governments who are party to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which guarantees people’s rights to liberty and security and is monitored by the UN, are more likely than non-signatories to switch from conventional extrajudicial killings to forced disappearances. http://bit.ly/2C62NmX

Nigeria: Boko Haram suspects tried in court

Hundreds of suspected Boko Haram militants have appeared before a court at the Kainji military base in central Niger state. A total of 526 suspects were released due to lack of evidence. A Defense Ministry spokesperson said around 205 were convicted and sentenced to jail terms ranging from three to 60 years. Nigeria’s security services have been accused of abuses during the insurgency, including extra-judicial executions and enforced disappearances. Civilians have been held for years without access to lawyers or being brought to court. In total, more than 1,000 people have been processed in a string of mass hearings that began in October at the Kainji base. Since 2009, the insurgency has left at least 20,000 dead and forced more than 2.6 million from their homes. http://bit.ly/2EEMmeI

Pardoned Peruvian Ex-President Fujimori to stand trial for extrajudicial killings

A court in Peru has ruled that former leader Alberto Fujimori could not be pardoned on humanitarian grounds in the case of extrajudicial killing of six persons in 1992 in the town of Pativilca. Incumbent Peruvian President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski pardoned Fujimori in December last year on grounds of illness after he had served 10 years of a jail term. Among other things, Fujimori’s administration was held responsible for widespread human rights violations including extrajudicial killings. http://bit.ly/2sGclRI

Gambia President announces moratorium on death penalty

Gambia’s President Adama Barrow has declared a moratorium on the death penalty, calling it a “first step toward abolition.” Parliament is in the process of enacting legislation to establish a Truth, Reconciliation and Reparation Commission and a Human Rights Commission as the country emerges from 22 years of dictatorship that were marked by arbitrary arrests, enforced disappearances and extrajudicial killings. http://bit.ly/2FfuMzd

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.