Daily World News Digest, 20 November 2017

Yezidi captives “hidden in plain sight”

Almost half of the more than 6,000 Yezidis kidnapped by Da’esh three years ago have still not been found. Yet many are hidden in plain sight, aid workers and Yezidi activists say, living with Arab families who have sought refuge in refugee camps. Forced to convert to Islam, they now fear for their lives if they are found, according to aid worker and Yezidi activist Mirza Dinaye. “We know they are completely assimilated into the Muslim community,” he says. “They think the Yezidi faith has been eradicated, and often suffer from Stockholm syndrome.” http://bit.ly/2hEos9t

 Identifying the missing in Bosnia

Forensic anthropologist Dragana Vucetic collects DNA samples from the bones of people killed in eastern Bosnia during the war, including in the 1995 Srebrenica massacre, and reassembles their skeletal remains. Vucetic’s employer, the International Commission on Missing Persons, has pioneered a DNA-based identification system. Through their efforts, more than 70 percent of the estimated 30,000 persons missing from the Bosnian war have so far been accounted for. The figure includes nearly 7,000, or almost 90 percent, of the victims of Srebrenica. http://abcn.ws/2zS9sz0

Mexico: new law to combat enforced disappearance

President Enrique Peña Nieto of Mexico has signed the General Law on Forced Disappearances, which will be backed by an initial US$26.3 million budget to create a National Search Commission, scheduled to begin work in January, and to implement other measures, including the consolidation of missing persons databases and the financing of state-based missing persons agencies. The creation of a national forensic data bank and a bank of information provided by victims’ families are also mandated under the law, as is the establishment of a national exhumation and cadaver identification program. http://bit.ly/2AV1S3P

 EU challenged over Mediterranean migration

An editorial in Sunday’s Malta Independent newspaper takes the European Union to task for what it says is “lip service to the awful plight of African migrants trapped in limbo in what is currently a lawless Libya”. It says the Malta Declaration issued by EU leaders in February this year has effectively “legitimized the human suffering prevailing in Libya by accepting the pushing back of people to conditions where they suffer documented arbitrary detention, torture, ill-treatment, unlawful killings, trafficking and enforced disappearance, labor exploitation and sexual violence.” http://bit.ly/2zS4Bhz

Enforced disappearances in Pakistan

There are officially at least 1,400 unresolved cases of enforced disappearances in Pakistan, the International Court of Justice noted in 2016. The majority, documented by Advocate Ali Palh of Sindh Human Rights Defenders, are male, aged between 22 to 45 years old. They may be involved in politics and religious causes and they are likely to be from poor or lower-middle-class backgrounds. In a wave that started in Sindh in August 2017, more than 80 citizens were forcibly disappeared in the course of 30 days. http://bit.ly/2mHrMpD 

Fourteenth century mass graves discovered in Bohemia

Archaeologists have discovered around 1,500 skeletons in 30 mass graves in the Czech Republic. The remains were unearthed on the plot of the Sedlec Ossuary, a chapel in the town of Kutna Hora east of Prague, famed for being decorated with thousands of skeletons. The bones reportedly date back to the 14th century and most probably belonged to victims of famine. According to lead archaeologist Jan Frolík of the Czech Academy of Sciences Institute of Archaeology, the burial site is one of the largest in Bohemia and he estimates it might also hold the record for most number of skeletons in Europe. http://bit.ly/2AWolxM 

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.