Daily World News Digest, 23 December 2015

IOM: Irregular migrant, refugee arrivals in Europe top one million in 2015

IOM issued a statement on 22 December confirming that over a million irregular migrants and refugees arrived in Europe in 2015, mostly from Syria, Africa and South Asia. The total is the highest migration flow since World War II. This year’s total of migrant/refugee deaths now stands at 3,692 – over 400 more than in 2014. IOM Director General William Lacy Swing said ‘’it’s not enough to count the number of those arriving – or the nearly 4,000 this year reported missing or drowned. We must also act. Migration must be legal, safe and secure for all – both for the migrants themselves and the countries that will become their new homes.” http://bit.ly/1IpycP2

Pakistan Senate discusses missing persons issue

The Express Tribune, a daily from Pakistan, reports today that the Senate, transformed into Committee of the Whole House, on Tuesday recommended legal and constitutional remedies to address issue of ‘’the missing persons’’ – a term used for people picked up by intelligence agencies on different charges with no legal remedy. On the proposal of Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Senator Farhatullah Babar, the senate panel agreed to incorporate a recommendation in its final report to impose certain limits on law enforcement agencies (LEAs) through amendment in the Constitution, in case the LEAs have to pick up someone for investigation. http://bit.ly/1J40L4E

At least 13 migrants dead as boat sinks off Greek Island

ABC News reports today that Greek authorities say a small plastic boat carrying migrants from Turkey to Europe has sunk off an eastern Greek islet drowning at least 13, mostly children. The coast guard says another 15 people have been rescued, while a search is underway to locate one missing person. The dead were identified as seven children, four men and two women. The accident occurred before dawn Wednesday off the small Aegean Sea island of Farmakonissi. The cause of the sinking was not immediately clear.  http://abcn.ws/1O8JR5e

Syria: Security Council demands immediate humanitarian access across battle lines

UN News Center issued a news on 22 December saying that in its first resolution on Syria since granting the United Nations an enhanced role in seeking to end the five-year-long war, the Security Council today demanded that all parties, particularly the Syrian authorities, immediately open routes across conflict lines and borders to let in vital humanitarian aid.  It condemned “the widespread use of torture, ill-treatment, arbitrary executions, extrajudicial killings, enforced disappearances, sexual and gender-based violence, as well as all grave violations and abuses committed against children.”  http://bit.ly/22pvkID

Mexico and US responsible for human rights crisis

Fair Observer news portal reported on 22 December that an international jury of independent human rights experts and advocates has found Mexico, the United States and key countries of origin of migrants in transit jointly responsible for widespread human rights violations in Mexico, based on hearings held at New York University in September 2015. The verdict of the International Tribunal of Conscience is based on testimony and documentation regarding the cases of 43 disappeared students from Ayotzinapa, the San Fernando massacre and mass graves of August 2010 and April 2011 and the systematic violation of migrants’ rights in detention centers and along the migratory route. http://bit.ly/1NBYvk8

Nigeria: Army attack on Shia unjustified

Human Rights Watch issued a news on 22 December saying that the killing of hundreds of Shia Muslim members of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN), by Nigerian army soldiers from December 12 to 14, 2015, appears to have been wholly unjustified. Human Rights Watch interviewed 16 witnesses to the killings and five others, including local authorities, who said that Nigerian army soldiers fired on Shia Muslim members of the group at three locations in Zaria, in northern Nigeria. At least 300 Shia sect members, and likely many more, were killed and hundreds more injured, according to witnesses. Soldiers quickly buried the bodies in mass graves without family members’ permission, making it difficult to determine an accurate death toll. http://bit.ly/1MvzP8R

Tales of the disappeared in a Mexico drug state

The Bangkok Post carried a story today saying that there are among the 5,000 people who are listed as “disappeared” in Tamaulipas, the northeastern Mexican state with the most missing people in Mexico, where a total of 26,000 have vanished amid a brutal, nearly decade-old drug war. The disappearance of 43 students in southern Guerrero state last year put a spotlight on the plight of Mexico’s disappeared. But there are many, many other untold stories across Mexico, especially in Tamaulipas, where many fear the consequences of angering the Gulf or Zetas drug cartels. The article brings their stories. http://bit.ly/1J42SFG

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.