Daily World News Digest, 23 February 2018

Syria: mass graves in besieged Ghouta

With limited time and space, and casualties spiraling, victims of shelling in the eastern Ghouta region outside Damascus, which is under siege by regime forces, are being rushed into mass graves — a layer of bodies placed between a latticework of cinderblocks, a sheet of plywood placed on top, and another layer added. The UN estimates there are close to 400,000 people trapped inside the siege lines. http://bit.ly/2HE0oze

Egypt: “making people disappear”

The BBC has published a series of first-hand accounts of enforced disappearance in Egypt. It reports that the Egyptian Commission for Rights and Freedoms has documented at least 1,500 enforced disappearances in the past four years, though the real figure may be much higher. It quotes campaigner Mohamed Lotfy: “making people disappear is a hallmark of the regime of President Abdul Fattah al-Sisi”. Campaigners say most of the disappeared are tortured before reappearing in custody weeks or months later, facing terrorism charges. http://bbc.in/2FiOkm9

Amnesty: enforced disappearance in Bangladesh now “routine”

Bangladesh security forces routinely targeted opposition members through enforced disappearances in 2017, with reports suggesting that more than 80 people vanished in this way last year, Amnesty International said Thursday. “Enforced disappearances were routinely carried out by security forces, mainly targeting supporters of the opposition,” Amnesty said. “Some of the disappeared were subsequently found dead.” http://bit.ly/2EOkIfH

More schoolgirls missing in Nigeria

More than 100 girls are still missing three days after suspected Boko Haram extremists attacked their school in northern Nigeria, parents said Thursday, as fears grew that they may have been kidnapped like those from Chibok town nearly four years ago. The announcement came after government officials in Yobe state acknowledged that some 50 young women remained unaccounted for in the Monday evening attack on the village of Dapchi. There have been a number of conflicting reports, in part because of limited access to the area. http://bit.ly/2EO2Kdd

Myanmar: Rohingya villages “should be treated as crime scenes”

New satellite imagery reveals that the authorities in Myanmar have been bulldozing scores of depopulated Rohingya villages in northern Rakhine State, according to Human Rights Watch. HRW called on the UN and Myanmar’s donors to demand that the Burmese government “immediately halt the demolition of Rohingya villages, which should be treated as crime scenes that should be preserved until the UN Fact-Finding Mission is given access to the area to carry out investigations”. http://bit.ly/2sNm48H

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.