Daily World News Digest, 23 March 2015

Release of child soldiers in South Sudan

UNICEF reported on 21 March that up to 250 child soldiers including four girls, one as young as nine, have been released in South Sudan from an armed group, the Cobra Faction. Another 400 are being released over the next two days. The release happened in the remote village of Lekuangole, in Jonglei State. It is the third release of children following a peace deal between the faction and the Government. The Government’s National Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration Commission (NDDRC) and UNICEF are working together to care for the children and reintegrate them in their communities. The Cobra Faction have advised UNICEF that they have up to 3,000 child soldiers in their armed group. UNICEF Representative in South Sudan, Jonathan Veitch said this release takes the number of child soldiers demobilized to 1,314. “While we welcome freedom for the children, we are also deeply disturbed by the hundreds of children being abducted in Upper Nile and Unity States,” Veitch said. http://uni.cf/1Flr6rQ

Police in India launch website to help trace missing persons

The New Indian Express reported on 22 March that police in Madras have launched a website in which details of missing persons and unidentified bodies can be viewed and information can be provided by the general public to the police. The Ministry of Women and Child Development in New Delhi has already launched a national website – Track Child – under the Integrated Child Protection Scheme (ICPS), and is taking steps to establish a computerized network linking the Central Project Support Union (CPSU), the State Child Protection Society, the District Child Protection Units (DCPU), the Child Care Instructions (CCIs), all police stations, Chief Welfare Committee Members (CWCs) and all Juvenile Justice Board Members (JJBs) to facilitate quick and early restoration of missing children to their families. Officers have been appointed to Track Child units in States and Union Territories. http://bit.ly/1HnRBKx

Children go missing from town in Punjab

The Times of India reports today that around 13 minors, including nine girls, have gone missing from the town of Mohali in the Punjab in the past three months, amid public disquiet over the apparent failure of local police to investigate effectively. “These things are inevitable,” a police officer was quoted as saying, “It is the duty of the police to trace or locate the missing or kidnapped persons. However, parents must also learn to handle their kids.” The paper notes that all the missing girls “are from middle class families and were receiving good education from different private and government schools in the district.” http://bit.ly/1BndSU5

US Senator Schumer seeks to speed missing children probes

The Niagara Gazette reported on 21 March that Senator Charles E. Schumer is seeking to close what local police say is a loophole in federal law that prevents local and state law enforcement officials throughout Upstate New York from quickly and thoroughly reporting on, updating and responding to missing children cases in the state. Schumer has re-introduced bipartisan legislation known as The Bringing Missing Children Home Act to better protect missing and exploited children in the US. The act would improve law enforcement reporting and response procedures in cases of missing children by refining and streamlining how cases of missing children are handled.  With 10,312 upstate New York children reported missing in 2013, and 1,269 of those cases still active, they would make what Schumer calls “several commonsense changes” to existing rules. http://bit.ly/1GJFmYO

Thousands of Nepali women disappear through human trafficking

The AsiaNews.It website reported on 20 March that a study by police in the Kailali District of western Nepal has found that every year in Nepal “5,000 women disappear as a result of human trafficking related to prostitution and organ harvesting.” Often, the victims are sold by their own families, the report says. In 2013, 103 women disappeared in Kailali district. In 2014, 118 suffered the same fate in the same district. Just in the last eight months, 69 women vanished. In Tanahun, central Nepal, 82 women and children disappeared in the past seven months. The victims simply vanish; very few ever make it home (for Kailali district, 19 in 2013 and 24 in 2014). In many cases, families do not report the disappearance for fear of being accused by the authorities. http://bit.ly/1xrrx1y

Fears that 46 missing Egyptians may have been kidnapped

Daily News Egypt reported on 22 March that communication has been lost with 46 Egyptian workers who were trying to emigrate illegally to Italy and they are believed to be trapped in Libya. Their relatives fear a similar destiny to the Egyptian workers who were kidnapped in January then beheaded in February by Islamic State in Libya. Relatives of 26 of the workers missing in Libya met with Foreign Ministry spokesman Badr Abdelatty on Saturday and informed the ministry that communication with their relatives stopped at 1am on 7 September, “and the last we know is that they were about to start the boat voyage,” a relative said. He added that there were a total of 227 people on board the boat. http://bit.ly/1IiWwgO

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.