Daily World News Digest, 23 June 2016

Malaysia finds mass graves of 24 suspected human trafficking victims

Reuters reports today that the Malaysian authorities have found mass graves containing the remains of more than 20 people believed to be human trafficking victims near the border with Thailand, police said on Sunday. The heavily forested Thai-Malay border has been a transit point for smugglers bringing people to Southeast Asia by boat from Myanmar and Bangladesh. The migrants are often held for ransom in squalid detention camps and according to some accounts face torture and starvation. Police uncovered 24 bodies on Saturday in the Bukit Wang Burma area near the Malaysian border with Thailand, close to where authorities in May had found hundreds of bodies in illegal detention camps. http://reut.rs/28OQnjc

UN Human Rights Commission hears of enforced disappearance, other violations in Eritrea

AI – (Asmarino Independent), an online community for Eritreans, reported on 21 June that the Centre for Global Nonkilling (COI) had made a statement before the UN Human Rights Council 32nd ordinary session in Geneva, dealing with human rights in Eritrea. The COI said it has uncovered heinous crimes against humanity being committed in detention facilities, military facilities and other locations inside Eritrea since 1991. The catalogue of crimes includes: enslavement, imprisonment, enforced disappearance, persecution, rape, murder, torture, and other inhumane acts. http://bit.ly/28Rv9TW

Maltese-based MOAS saves 2000 people in two weeks off Libyan coast

The Libya Herald reported on 22 June that since the Maltese-based Migrant Offshore Aid Station (MOAS) launched its 2016 Mediterranean mission on 6 June, over 2,000 people have been rescued and assisted off the coast of Libya. It said the MOAS fleet of two ships, two drones and over 40 humanitarians have been working on the front lines of a global crisis. The International Organization for Migration reports that 264,014 migrants have been identified as residing in 316 different locations across Libya, of whom three percent are reported to be in detention centers. The most frequently reported nationalities of migrants in Libya are those from Niger, Egypt, Chad, Ghana and Sudan. http://bit.ly/28NJspx

The UK’s missing refugee children

The BBC reported on 20 June that hundreds of unaccompanied child asylum seekers have disappeared after arriving in the UK over the last three years, according to a BBC investigation. Every week, at least eight children went missing from local authority care last year, it said. Many are feared to have been trafficked by criminals to work in brothels, cannabis factories and private homes. Refugee campaigners say trafficked children, or those at risk, are often being failed after reaching the UK, with local authorities not equipped to protect and safeguard them. http://bbc.in/28Ixih6

Mass graves for Sierra Leone’s homeless and destitute dead

The Guardian reports today on volunteers calling themselves the Death and Destitute Organisation, who bury Freetown’s unidentified bodies. The mass graves are the end of the line for Freetown’s homeless, destitute and unidentified dead. For the past 12 years, a group of two dozen volunteers calling themselves the Death and Destitute Organisation (SLDDO) have used their own resources to collect and bury the bodies, while the city authorities deny the existence of both the organization and the prevalence of unidentified bodies in Sierra Leone’s capital. http://bit.ly/28RKzb6

German Russian project to account for Soviet and German prisoners of war

The Volksbund Deutsche Kriegsgräberfürsorge (German People’s Union) reported on 22 June that German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov have announced a joint project to search for and digitize archival documents of Soviet and German prisoners of war. Markus Meckel, President of the National Federation of German War Graves Commission said it was important “75 years after the invasion of the Soviet Union, to close the remaining gaps . . . eventually – as far as possible – to give each victim back his name . . . a common effort to commemorate the victims of the war will be important for important political reconciliation.” http://bit.ly/28OhnN3

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.