Daily World News Digest, 21 December 2015

Cyprus leaders appeal to people to give information on missing persons

Famagusta Gazette, a daily from Cyprus, reported today that President Anastasiades and Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci have appealed to all Cypriots to provide information to the Committee on Missing Persons on possible burial sites. The appeal, recorded as a TV-spot to be shown island-wide, was made during a visit of the two leaders to the CMP laboratory. CMP Greek Cypriot representative, Nestoras Nestoros stressed the need to collect information on possible burial sites, adding that such information should not be withheld. Nestoros also said the Committee already knows the location of the ten first sites in so called military areas in the Turkish occupied northern part of Cyprus and in 2016 exhumations will start in those areas. http://bit.ly/1QEtKib

As year nears end, migrants continue to die at sea

CNN carried a story on 19 December saying that as Christmas approaches and the end of the year draws near, people trying desperately to reach European shores from war-torn Syria and Iraq continue to die at sea. Overnight Friday, 18 people drowned when their wooden boat sank near Kiremit island, in the Aegean Sea just off the Turkish coast, Turkey’s semiofficial Anadolu Agency reported. Worsening weather conditions currently make the trip more dangerous than usual. According to UNHCR more than 950,000 people have reached Europe by sea this year. With only two weeks remaining in the year, it is virtually certain 2015’s total will surpass the 1 million mark — which will be nearly five times 2014’s total. http://cnn.it/1QTxivA

Central America: Mothers of disappeared migrants ask Pope for help

Telesur news portal carried a story on 20 December saying that mothers of disappeared migrants from Central America wrote a letter to Pope Francis urging him to promote new migration policy during his Mexico visit. Coming from the “northern triangle” representing the most dangerous zone without a declared war – Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador – the women seek safer conditions and the recognition of the refugee status of Central American migrants. The women challenged the criminalization of migrants in the world, the violation of their rights, the violence, the disappearances and deaths and the serious problem of trafficking. An estimated 400,000 migrants cross Mexico every year, and according to the Mesoamerican Migrant Movement that organized the caravan, about 80 percent do not reach their destination. http://bit.ly/1kbWlNx

Egypt: Forcibly disappeared photojournalist to be released from detention

Daily News Egypt reported on 19 December that the Cairo Criminal Court decided to release 23-year-old photojournalist Esraa El-Taweel on Saturday after six months in detention on health grounds. Charges against her will remain according to her lawyer Haleem Henish. El-Taweel was charged with belonging to the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood and publishing false reports that distort Egypt’s reputation, by the supreme court of Homeland Security. She was initially forcibly disappeared for two weeks after her arrest, before reappearing in Qanater prison for women. Health conditions inside detention facilities have been worsening at alarming levels as rates of arrests largely increased in the wake of banning the Brotherhood, causing over-crowding and the deaths of dozens of detainees and prisoners. http://bit.ly/1meHOC3

Zaria massacre: Crisis Group calls for full scale inquiry

The News, a portal from Nigeria, reported on 20 December that the global conflict prevention organization, International Crisis Group (ICG), has called for a full scale inquiry into the recent extra-judicial killing of hundreds of Nigerian citizens in the city of Zaria. The call follows last weekend’s deadly clashes between soldiers and members of a religious group, the Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN), in which a large but yet unconfirmed number of people, mostly members of the group, were killed. Senior Analyst, Nnamdi Obasi, urged that the proposed inquiry should identify any individuals whose actions triggered or aggravated the violence, and recommend appropriate legal sanctions. For the military, Crisis Group observes that the Nigerian army already has “a questionable human rights record”, and urges the nation’s military authorities to “take every possible action to avoid worsening that record”. http://bit.ly/1YqOqPb

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.