Daily World News Digest, 21 March 2017

More than 400 migrants rescued off the coast of Libya

The Japan Times carries an AFP-JIJI story today reporting that during the last two days 420 migrants have been rescued off the coast of Libya. Three were found dead and 30 have been reported missing. A senior Libyan official said 205 Africans including eight women and a child were rescued early Monday off the coast of Tajura, 30 km east of Tripoli. The migrants “were on two inflatable dinghies that had started to take on water,” he said. “The smugglers pushed two dinghies crammed with people out to sea before removing their engines and abandoning them to their fate.” http://bit.ly/2n1S5DB

Lawyers in Zimbabwe willing to engage government on human rights

NewsDay Zimbabwe reports today that Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) has expressed its willingness to engage the government on recommendations of the Universal Periodic Review (UPR). At the same time, the group remains concerned about the “restrictive environment” for human rights defenders, “who continue to be subjected to harassment, arrest, prosecution and persecution as they seek to exercise their constitutional rights,” it said in a statement. The government has until now refused to accept recommendations urging it to ratify the Convention Against Torture and the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance. http://bit.ly/2mPbNBy

Pakistan urged not to reinstate secret military courts 

Human Rights Watch issued a statement yesterday urging the Pakistani government to withdraw its proposal to restore military courts empowered to try civilians. The government is introducing a bill to amend the Constitution of Pakistan and the Army Act, 1952 to reinstate and expand the jurisdiction of military courts to try civilians for terrorism-related offenses. The draft law seeks to expand the jurisdiction of the military courts to individuals who commit, “grave and violent acts against the State.” From January 7, 2015 to January 6, 2017, military courts convicted 274 individuals and handed down 161 death sentences. At least 17 people have been executed after being convicted by a military court. The International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) has reported that defendants facing military tribunals have been allegedly subjected to enforced disappearance, torture, and other ill-treatment. http://bit.ly/2nYZoLi

Shoes highlight student disappearances in Mexico

Amnesty International UK published an article yesterday describing an exhibition in London that features forty pairs of shoes worn by family members searching for their disappeared loved ones in Mexico. The exhibition, at Amnesty International UK’s building in east London, is called Footprints of Memory:  Searching for Mexico’s Disappeared. The exhibition also includes footprints of the shoes, with messages for disappeared relatives carved into the soles by artist Alfredo López Casanova. Some are engraved with green ink, the color representing the hope that the missing will be found, while others are black, meaning that the missing person’s body has been discovered. http://bit.ly/2nN4F9K

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.