Daily World News Digest, 21 March 2018

Disappearances in Pakistan

More than 700 reports of disappearances have been received by the UN Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances from Pakistan, and hundreds more have been reported to Pakistani authorities, “but nobody has ever been held accountable for an enforced disappearance in the country”, Amnesty International says. It says victims include “bloggers, journalists, students, peace activists, and other human rights defenders whose work promotes the same values as this [UN Human Rights] Council and is crucial to a free and just society.” Amnesty warns that the disappeared risk torture and even death, and describes forced disappearances as “a tool of terror.” http://bit.ly/2HO7U9S

Nigeria: 76 schoolgirls released

The majority of the Nigerian schoolgirls kidnapped by militants from the town of Dapchi last month have been returned, the government says. Nigeria’s Ministry of Information says 76 of the 110 schoolgirls were brought back in the early hours of Wednesday following “back channel efforts”. The army then “paused” its operations in the area to ensure “lives were not lost”, the statement continued. However, the statement did not address reports a number of the girls had died. The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, said in the statement that girls were released “unconditionally” and “with the help of some friends of the country”. http://bbc.in/2HRmNIG

Impunity of security forces engaged in extrajudicial killings in India

Human Rights Watch has published an article on extrajudicial killing in India, where soldiers deployed in counterinsurgency “are shielded from criminal prosecution” by the Armed Forces Special Powers Act, and police and federal forces also have effective legal immunity from prosecution. It says “serious concerns about police killings during security operations” are longstanding, while a 2016 report on deaths in police custody not only documented violations of arrest procedures by the police leading to abuses, but found that investigating officers will shield their colleagues rather than bring those responsible for abuses to justice. http://bit.ly/2DJ0MJB

Local police linked to Allende massacre in Mexico

Mexico’s National Human Rights Commission (CNDH) has found that municipal police were complicit with the Zetas drug cartel in the enforced disappearance of 38 people in the northern state of Coahuila in 2011. The CNDH has called for an inquiry into “serious human rights violations committed between 18 and 20 March when the Zetas attacked the town of Allende, abducted residents and carried out a massacre.” http://bit.ly/2u5N43X

Sri Lanka’s Office on Missing Persons

Al Jazeera has broadcast a report on the large number of persons missing in Sri Lanka as a result of the country’s 25-year conflict, and the work of the newly-established Office on Missing Persons, which has powers to investigate disappearances, but does not have the power to prosecute those suspected of committing crimes. http://bit.ly/2FZhoyy

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.