Daily World News Digest, 20 October 2017

UN calls on China to end detention of activists

The UN has demanded that China immediately release Christian church leader Hu Shigen and lawyers Zhou Shifeng and Xie Yang, who were detained and tried as part of an unprecedented nationwide crackdown on human rights attorneys and activists that began in July 2015. The UN’s working group on arbitrary detention said the trio were subjected to a host of rights violations, including being denied access to legal counsel, being held in “incommunicado detention” and their families “were not informed of their whereabouts for several months”. The working group comes under the UN’s human rights council, of which China is a member. China promised to cooperate with the group when it ran for a seat on the human rights council in August 2016. http://bit.ly/2yAQPP7

Missing rights activist Punhal Sario returns home

Human rights activist and campaigner for missing persons Punhal Sario returned to his home in Hyderabad on Wednesday after being released by his unidentified captors near a bridge in the city. Sario was abducted in Hyderbad on 3 August when around 15 personnel in the uniforms of police commandos stopped the car in which he was returning from an event and forced him into a Toyota Vigo. Sario, who heads the Sindh Hari Porhiyat Council [Sindh Peasants Laborers’ Council] led a campaign for missing persons. He is said to be physically unharmed. http://bit.ly/2yBpkmW

Nepal: diplomats call for “firm commitment” to transitional justice

Diplomatic representatives in Nepal, including those from the US, the UK and the EU, have called on the Maoist party of Former Prime Minster Prachandas to show a firm commitment in delivering transitional justice to victims of the civil war, which ended in 2006. The call comes against a backdrop of disillusion over what many see as the slow progress made by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and the Commission for the Investigation of Enforced Disappearance. The extended terms of the two commissions will expire in the next three to four months. http://bit.ly/2yENEGz

Burundian refugees face food shortages

Burundian refugees in the Democratic Republic of Congo say they are facing food shortages. About 400,000 people have fled Burundi since its political crisis began in 2015, when President Pierre Nkurunziza announced his bid to run for a third term. The government is accused of trying to silence its critics over extrajudicial killings, disappearances and torture – all of which it denies. http://bit.ly/2ircqEc

Kosovo: legal recognition for wartime sexual violence survivors

After almost two decades of silence and stigma, Kosovo women survivors of sexual violence during the armed conflict of 1998-1999 are to receive legal recognition and reparations, including financial assistance. Systematic sexual violence against women and girls was common in the conflict that broke out between ethnic Albanians and Serbian forces in Kosovo. A decision issued in September by the Government of Kosovo identifies and gives survivors official status as civilian victims of war, making them eligible for reparations, including financial assistance in the form of monthly pensions. http://bit.ly/2l3SkR6

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.