Daily World News Digest, 21 February 2017

UK plans missing persons database

UKAuthority, a news portal for Britain’s public sector, reported yesterday that a new database of missing persons is to be launched as part of a drive to tackle child sexual exploitation. The Home Office has announced plans for a National Missing Persons Register, expected to go live in 2018. It will give police access to information about adults and children who have disappeared wherever they are in the country. Plans for the new database were revealed as Home Secretary Amber Rudd launched a £40 million package of measures to tackle child sexual exploitation. http://bit.ly/2lBnWfF

“Migrant slave trade” booming in Libya

The Guardian published an article yesterday on the Mediterranean migration crisis and what it describes as the accompanying “slave trade”. It notes that every day an average of 14 migrants, the vast majority from countries in sub-Saharan Africa, die crossing the Mediterranean. Many more are victims of “a silent massacre” in the Sahara desert – a journey more deadly than the crossing from the coast, according to the International Organisation for Migration. When migrants in Libya “are intercepted by what authorities do exist in the country, they are taken to squalid, overcrowded warehouses – generously referred to as detention centers” where “they are locked up and left to rot,” the article says. http://bit.ly/2kPVVg6

In El Salvador one man is raising the dead

The Daily Telegraph reports today on the work of forensic criminologist Israel Ticas in El Salvador, a country where someone is killed almost every hour. As one of the Central American nation’s few forensic criminologists, Ticas finds victims killed largely over petty gang feuds or small-time extortion. Sometimes the bodies are never found. At other times, they are found in mass graves. Known as “the lawyer for the dead”, Ticas says his work is about bringing closure to victims’ families. http://bit.ly/2lBr3Eo

Former aide to Chief Justice still detained in South Sudan

The Sudan Tribune reports today on the detention of Thomas Gama, a former aide to the Chief Justice, who, the paper says, was abducted at gunpoint from Juba Airport by South Sudanese National Security Service operatives last month. A relative notes that Gama’s “unlawful continuous detention” violates his constitutional rights and that he has been denied access to family members and to legal counsel. “He has also not been allowed to seek medical treatment since his arrest.” http://bit.ly/2lhiuhq

Gambia: President Adama Barrow orders release of prisoners 

All Africa published an article yesterday noting that Gambian President Adama Barrow has reiterated his commitment to ending human rights abuses in the country and ordered the release of all prisoners detained without trial. As a result, a total of 171 inmates in the tiny West African nation’s 2 Mile Prison have been released. They were detained without trial during former President Yahya Jammeh’s 22-year rule. Jammeh’s tenure, the article says, was marred by clampdowns on dissenting views, enforced disappearances and detention without trial. International pressure led Jammeh on January 21 to accept election defeat and fly into exile in Equatorial Guinea. http://bit.ly/2lhgvJT

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.