Daily World News Digest, 21 September 2017

Highlighting the fate of Syria’s disappeared

Earlier this month, Amnesty International organized a weeklong exhibition in Beirut to highlight the issue of Syria’s missing and disappeared. The exhibition, titled “Tens of Thousands”, displayed poems written by detainees and portraits of prisoners by Syrian artist Azza Abou Rebieh. The Syrian Network for Human Rights reports that 85,036 persons were forcibly disappeared by parties to the conflict in Syria between March 2011 and August 2017. http://bit.ly/2xg6IKT

Bosnia and Herzegovina: excavations at newly discovered mass grave continue

Authorities in Bosnia and Herzegovina are continuing the process of forensic analysis after bodies were removed form a mass grave in the center of the country, at a site where more than 200 civilians were executed in August 1992. Staff from the International Commission on Missing Persons, and government officials and representatives of the State Prosecutor’s Office have attended the exhumations. http://nws.mx/2xkezVp

End “the shameful silence on Egypt”

Repression in Egypt, “from legislation effectively banning NGOs, to enforced disappearances, long-term arbitrary detention, and extrajudicial killings”, has reached levels not seen in decades, according to a Human Rights Watch report, HRW says Egypt’s “torture epidemic” is systematic and widespread, and likely constitutes a crime against humanity, and it describes what it says is the UN Human Rights Council’s silence on this issue “an insult to victims of egregious abuse”. http://bit.ly/2xfnABL

Iraq: more cases of enforced disappearance

Over the course of September 2017, two organizations, Alkarama and Al Wissam Humanitarian Assembly, have submitted five cases of enforced disappearances in Iraq to the UN Committee on Enforced Disappearances. These cases, Alkarama says, “represent part of the systematic practice of enforced disappearance in Iraq”. Alkarama says the Iraqi authorities are invoking the fight against terrorism and the war against Da’esh to justify and carry out mass arrests followed by incommunicado detention, operating outside any legal framework. http://bit.ly/2wIFJUc

Rights defenders face reprisals for cooperating with UN

The UN reports that growing numbers of human rights defenders around the world are facing reprisals and intimidation for cooperating with the UN, ranging from travel bans and the freezing of assets to detention and torture. The UN names 29 countries where cases of reprisal and intimidation have been documented; this is higher than the previous highest number of 20. It urges all states to stop reprisals, investigate existing allegations, provide effective remedies and adopt and implement measures to prevent recurrence. http://bit.ly/2xoXaMQ

US war veterans helping Vietnamese to locate mass graves

US Air Force veteran of the Vietnam War Bob Connor is helping to locate unmarked graves in Vietnam, to give thousands of Vietnamese families the closure that has eluded them for five decades. Connor is now working with four other Vietnam veterans who have insight on mass graves in Vietnam. According to the Vietnamese government nearly 300,000 soldiers are still missing from the war. Many of the missing were buried in mass, unmarked graves dug by American servicemen.  http://bit.ly/2xwQZa3

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.