Daily World News Digest, 22 December 2015

Bosnia identifies three young sisters from 1992 massacre

AFP reported on 21 December that Roma girls were aged just 3, 5 and 7 when Serb paramilitaries gunned them down in wartime Bosnia, along with their pregnant mother, their father and four other young siblings. More than 23 years after their deaths — and 12 years after their bones and clothes were found in a mass grave in eastern Bosnia — forensic experts on Monday identified them as sisters from the Ribic family. Buried nearby in a mass grave at Crni Vrh, their remains were left undiscovered until 2003, a spokeswoman for the Bosnian Missing Persons Institute, Lejla Cengic, told. http://yhoo.it/1S7f76s

Thailand: Top court to rule over disappearance of a lawyer

The Bangkok Post reported today that the Supreme Court’s verdict in the case of lawyer Somchai Neelapaijit’s disappearance next Tuesday will set a new standard in cases of enforced disappearances, which may affect the cases of other victims say rights advocates. By ruling whether the primary victim’s family can be a co-plaintiff in the suit, the verdict will set out who has the right to defend the claims of the disappeared. Thai law does not recognize enforced disappearance as a crime. Lawyer Somchai Neelapaijit was abducted in March 2004 as he defended victims tortured in a police investigation, while his body was never found. http://bit.ly/1Im7XJl

Boko Haram conflict forces more than 1 million children from school

UNICEF issued a statement on 21 December saying that violence and attacks against civilian populations in northeastern Nigeria and its neighboring countries have forced more than 1 million children out of school. The number of children missing out on their education due to the conflict adds to the estimated 11 million children of primary school age who were already out of school in Nigeria, Cameroon, Chad and Niger before the onset of the crisis. In other areas, however, insecurity, fear of violence and attacks are preventing many teachers from resuming classes. In Nigeria alone, approximately 600 teachers have been killed since the start of the Boko Haram insurgency.   http://uni.cf/1m62jkO

Secretary of opposition party in Egypt arrested and forcibly disappeared

Ikhwan Web, a news portal from Egypt, carried a story saying that the Association of Suez Detainees Families (ASDF) holds the criminal military coup authorities fully responsible for the safety of Ahmed Mahmoud, Secretary of the Freedom and Justice Party in Suez and member of the party’s Supreme Committee, who was kidnapped Saturday morning by coup security forces which also subjected him to enforced disappearance. The family has not received any information about Mahmoud’s fate or whereabouts, and fears he will be tortured. ASDF said abduction and enforced disappearance are crimes repeatedly committed by coup authorities against hundreds of people. http://bit.ly/1Tervjm

Malaysia aims for top ranking in human trafficking by 2020

Malaysia Insider reported on 21 December that Malysia aims to be placed at Tier One in the the US Department of State Annual Report on Human Trafficking by 2020, said Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi. He added that Malaysia has taken several measures to improve its position in preparation for another assessment next year. On investigations of mass graves of suspected human trafficking victims in Wang Kelian, Perlis, Zahid said six suspects, five Thai citizens and a Myanmar national, had been identified as masterminds of the case. Last May, police announced the discovery of mass graves with 106 skeletal remains believed to be of Rohingaya refugees, as well as 28 human trafficking camps. http://bit.ly/1mfrsJh

Burundi: Extrajudicial executions and systematic killings must be investigated

Amnesty International issued a statement today saying that security forces systematically killed dozens of people, including by extrajudicial execution, on the single bloodiest day of Burundi’s escalating crisis. In response to armed attacks on three military facilities in Bujumbura, police began cordon-and-search operations in a number of so-called political opposition neighborhoods. During some of these operations police came under fire from armed youth. In response they went from house to house looting homes and arbitrarily arresting people and killing dozens of others. Most of those killed on 11 December were members of the minority Tutsi ethnic group. These killings are a horrific illustration of the growing human rights crisis facing Burundi and the need to act vigorously. http://bit.ly/1NzPfgg

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.