Daily World News Digest, 23 August 2017

Mafia-led militia may be stopping migrants from leaving Libya for Italy

The Independent reported on Tuesday that there has been a 50-percent drop in the number of migrants attempting the deadliest route to Europe from Libya since mid-July 2017. Reuters has been told that a ‘former mafia boss’ is leading a group of policemen, army officials and civilians in an effort to stop boats departing from Sabratha, an ancient city 45 miles west of Tripoli. The mafia groups are thought to be attempting to gain access to funds for migration control from the EU, or are trying to position themselves as “legitimate partners for future developments”. The central Mediterranean route is currently the deadliest, with 2,400 people drowning so far in 2017. Around 600,000 migrants have made the journey since 2014 and 12,000 have died along the way. A 2016 UN report has documented sexual abuse, beatings, forced labor and malnutrition inside Libyan immigration detention centers. http://ind.pn/2xro1VW

“America’s secret graveyard”

The Guardian reported on 20 August on “America’s secret graveyard” along the US-Mexico border, “where families are forbidden from visiting the final resting place of their loved ones, and often don’t know they are there at all.“ The article notes that in 2016 there were officially 322 deaths along the US border with Mexico. Human remains were found in the deserts and remote ranchland in Texas, Arizona, New Mexico and California. In the past decade there have been 4,205 cases. “It’s an estimation because these are just those they have recovered. There are probably hundreds more hidden under trees in that scorched Arizona desert alone. All were migrants: men, women and children heading north for a better life, often carrying just the clothes they were wearing.” The article describes at length the efforts underway to identify deceased migrants. http://bit.ly/2whrIjU

Systematic violence facing migrants in Mexico

Telesur carried a story on Tuesday about the 2010 San Fernando massacre in Mexico’s Tamaulipas state, in which at least 72 migrants from central and south America were murdered. The Human Rights Commission of Mexico has demanded that the families of the victims receive reparations. The bodies of the migrants, 58 men and 14 women, were found in an abandoned warehouse in Tamaulipas, Mexico. Following this, a mass grave was found in San Fernando with 280 bodies of migrants who had been taken off buses on their way into the US. Although it is thought that criminal gangs were responsible for these killings, social organizations in Mexico have claimed that police forces were also involved. http://bit.ly/2wmibZ6

Bangladeshi court upholds death sentences

The Nation, from Pakistan, reported on Wednesday that a Bangladeshi court has upheld the death sentences of 14 security officers and a party official of the Rapid Action Battalion (RAB), an elite security force. The 15 men were convicted of the unlawful murder and enforced disappearance of political opposition activists. http://bit.ly/2wn4rgE

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.