Daily World News Digest, 23 February 2015


New Sri Lanka prime minister vows to free ‘disappeared’

The Australian newspaper carries an interview today with the new Prime Minister of Sri Lanka, Ranil Wickremesinghe, who says that persons detained in Sri Lanka under the Prevention of Terrorism Act may soon be released. The Prime Minister said his government had demanded a full list of detainees from all security agencies. He said provision would be made for reparations to be paid to families of deceased detainees. Mr Wickremesinghe said the number of people to be released is likely to be in the hundreds. http://bit.ly/1DNhrYV

Ukraine truce opens way to address issue of combatants missing in action

The Russia Today TV station reported on 22 February that 1,500 Ukrainian soldiers have been listed as missing in action and that the Ukrainian authorities are proposing to launch a DNA identification process after collecting samples from family members. To date, 52 PoW have been released by the Kiev authorities in exchange for 139 Ukrainian soldiers. Separatist forces say that the remains of Ukrainian soldiers in Debaltsevo cannot be collected due to the fact that corpses have been booby-trapped. http://bit.ly/1DJH5z4

Laos: Civil society leader Sombath Somphone missing for 800 days

The International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH), which brings together 178 Human rights organizations from around the world, issued a statement today urging the Lao government to take action in the investigation of the disappearance of prominent civil society leader Sombath Somphone. FIDH and LMHR (the Lao Movement for Human Rights) point out that it has been 800 days since the disappearance of Sombath. The FIDH statement also cites 13 other cases of suspected enforced disappearance in Laos: three student leaders who were arrested on 26 October 1999 for organizing a peaceful pro-democracy protest in Vientiane; nine people (two women and seven men), who were detained by security forces in November 2009 in various locations across the country for planning peaceful pro-democracy demonstrations; and Somphone Khantisouk, an outspoken critic of Chinese-sponsored agricultural projects in Luang Namtha Province, who disappeared in January 2007 after uniformed men abducted him. http://bit.ly/1z9vT7v

IOM, UNODC support Colombia’s fight against human trafficking

The International Organization for Migration announced on 23 February that, along with the United Nations Office on Drug and Crime (UNODC) it has signed an agreement with the Colombian Government to provide technical support to the judicial police, the Ministries of Foreign Affairs, Interior and Health, and other state institutions in order to fight human trafficking, which last year enslaved at least 62 Colombians abroad and inside the country. Support is related to developing protocols and information tools to help identify, investigate and prosecute cases of human trafficking. Human trafficking victims are routinely subject to sexual exploitation, forced labour, and forced marriage. Destination countries for trafficked Colombians include Argentina, Mexico, and Ecuador. http://bit.ly/1EdHRn5

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.