Daily World News Digest, 23 March 2016

Washington makes large donation to missing persons fund in Cyprus

Famagusta Gazette reported today that the USA has donated $250,000 to the Committee on Missing Persons in Cyprus (CMP) in support of the work of the CMP. According to an announcement, issued by CMP, this contribution is provided through the UNDP-Action for Cooperation and Trust (ACT) Program.   This donation will contribute to the Committee’s goal of identifying and returning as many remains of missing individuals as possible in order to bring an end to the uncertainty which has affected so many families for so many years. http://bit.ly/1Rk9hLk

Bones hold secret in missing children cases

The Financial Mail carried a story today saying that research involving the major joints of the body has revealed information that could ultimately help in identifying the remains of missing children‚ the University of Cape Town said on Tuesday. In her PhD research‚ Dr Kavita Lakha showed that there are no significant differences between the state of bone maturation in children of different South African biological and socio-economic groups. Her tool of analysis was the LODOX statscan system. Lakha was motivated through her work at the National Prosecuting Authority‚ where she is a special investigator in the missing persons task team dealing with Truth and Reconciliation Commission cases. She said her research was tailored towards South Africans and would help in investigations of unknown children whose bodies were severely decomposed.  http://bit.ly/1U7KrEt

Reconciliation: Colombo set to launch consultations

The Hindu reported today that face to face consultations with stakeholders throughout Sri Lanka are expected to commence early next month to design reconciliation mechanisms. Manouri Muttetuwegama, chairperson of the Consultation Task Force on Reconciliation Mechanisms, told that the process would go on for a few months. Among the mechanisms planned by the Sri Lanka government are an Office of Missing Persons; a Truth, Reconciliation, Justice and Non-Recurrence Commission; an accountability mechanism and an Office of Reparations. http://bit.ly/1MBAZBs

Colombia FARC rebels optimistic about peace after Kerry meeting

Today Online, a news portal from Singapore, reported on 22 March that Colombia’s FARC Marxist rebel group is optimistic it will soon sign a peace deal with the government, its leader said on Tuesday, after negotiators from both sides met with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry. Negotiators have reached partial agreements on land reform, guerrilla participation in politics, transitional justice, efforts to find missing persons and remove land mines, and an end to illegal drug trafficking. They are currently discussing a bilateral ceasefire and rebel demobilization. http://bit.ly/1RfHCyN

Senior UN official warns Burundi’s tensions could fuel violence throughout Great Lakes region

UN News Center issued a statement on 22 March saying that a climate for inclusive dialogue is urgently required to eradicate the polarization and fragmentation of Burundian society, resulting from the increasing poverty and ongoing political crisis, Assistant Secretary-General for Human Rights, Ivan Šimonoviæ, told the Human Rights Council today urged. Mr. Šimonoviæ noted that since the crisis began in April 2015, at least 474 people have been killed, and there are 36 cases of alleged enforced disappearances. In addition, at least some 5,000 people have been detained – of whom at least 1,834 remain in detention, some reportedly tortured and ill-treated. http://bit.ly/1pHHaiD

Egyptian student detained for recruiting fighters for Syria

Daily News Egypt carried a story on 22 March saying that the State Security Prosecution renewed Monday the detention of Egyptian student Islam Hamzay for 15 days, after he was accused of recruiting young men to travel and fight among the troops of the militant group Al-Nusra Front in Syria. Since the Rabaa Al-Adaweya sit-in dispersal in August 2013, during and after which many were reported missing and detained without formal charges, the number of enforced disappearances has increased. Families of those detained continue to petition for information regarding the whereabouts of their relatives. http://bit.ly/25lCuyZ

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.