Daily World News Digest, 23 November 2015

Prime target: How serial killers prey on indigenous women

The Globe and Mail, a daily from Canada, reported on 22 November that indigenous women in Canada are roughly seven times more likely than non-indigenous women to die at the hands of serial killers, according to a Globe and Mail analysis that found at least 18 aboriginal females were victims of convicted serial killers since 1980. Aboriginal women are being killed and disappearing across the country at an alarming rate. The RCMP have said 70 per cent of the indigenous women slain in Canada meet their fate at the hands of an indigenous person. An unprecedented 2014 RCMP report found 1,181 aboriginal females were killed or went missing across the country between 1980 and 2012. In some of the cases the victims’ loved ones said that police were initially dismissive of their concerns and did not appear to take the missing-person report seriously. Indigenous leaders have long called for a national inquiry into violence against aboriginal women and girls, citing the need to examine historic and modern issues. http://bit.ly/1X85etI

Sri Lanka: Secret detention cells unearthing a dark history

The Sunday Leader, a daily from Sri Lanka, reported on 21 November that underground detention cells at the Trincomalee navy camp drew the attention of the UN Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances, which concluded its visit to Sri Lanka last week. What is more astounding is that anyone taken to the cells had to be taken past the main gate and past several officers so it could not have been in operation without the knowledge of most senior officers of the camp or the former Government. The cells were believed to have been in existence during and after the war. Discovery of this detention cell raised concerns that similar unauthorized detention facilities may have existed in Colombo as well. Tae-Ung Baik said the government must also investigate if such cells exist in other parts of the country and ensure they are also closed. http://bit.ly/1HhxB1s

Refugee Crisis: Balkans border blocks leave thousands segregated and stranded in Greece

Amnesty International issued a statement on 20 November saying that new border control rules implemented almost simultaneously by the governments of Macedonia, Serbia and Croatia over the past 48 hours have resulted in large-scale renewed human rights violations, including collective expulsions and discrimination against individuals perceived to be economic migrants or refugees on the basis of their nationality. During the night of 18 November, Macedonia, Serbia and Croatia all changed their border management practices suddenly, without prior notice, and more or less simultaneously.  “This extremely worrying chain of events has yet again left thousands of people stranded in limbo, purely because of where they are from. At the very time when governments in the Balkans and Europe have vowed to work more closely together to improve safety and access to asylum on the Balkans route, the opposite is happening,” said John Dalhuisen, Amnesty International’s Director for Europe and Central Asia. “These governments appear to have acted without thinking through the consequences for thousands of people who are now stranded in grossly inadequate conditions with nowhere to go and precious little humanitarian assistance,’’ said Dalhuisen. http://bit.ly/1l9Ix6Q

Asean Summit: Pact to protect trafficking victims

The Star, a daily from Malaysia, reported on 22 November that the 10 Asean leaders signed a key convention to provide greater protection to victims of human trafficking and to impose the harshest punishment on perpetrators. The objectives of the Asean Convention against Trafficking in Persons are to effectively prevent and combat trafficking in persons, especially women and children; protect and assist human trafficking victims with full respect for their human rights; and promote co-operation among relevant parties. Human trafficking has been a long-standing concern for the region, with the Malaysia-Thai border being a primary transit point for traffickers due to the dense jungle and mountainous conditions in the area. In May this year, authorities discovered mass graves in the Malaysia-Thai border town of Padang Besar, containing the remains of more than 100 Rohingya and Bangladeshi migrants. http://bit.ly/1Ob9vXq

No justice for Chinese rights lawyer

Human Rights Watch issued a statement on 22 November saying that this week’s decision by a Beijing court to extend the pre-trial detention of prominent human rights lawyer Pu Zhiqiang shows that while there’s plenty of delay on offer in China’s legal system, there’s precious little justice. Pu has had a distinguished career representing many individuals and causes, ranging from representing outspoken artists to pushing for the Chinese government to end arbitrary detention without trial.  That latter focus seems especially ironic, given he has been held for 18 months on utterly baseless charges. The authorities took Pu into custody in May 2014 after he attended a small private seminar in Beijing on the 1989 Tiananmen Massacre; this apparently constituted “creating a disturbance.” China will continue to ‘’silence’’ Pu whose case has attracted considerable international attention. http://bit.ly/1Ob707D

A brief genealogy of disappearance and murder

CounterPunch, a monthly magazine from the US, carried a story today the invocation of the term desaparecidos (disappeared) in Spanish, maintains a specific reference to the forced disappearance of a specific group of people for political purposes and has become the historical reference point for the definition of this term today. The issue of disappearances was shaped by many dictatorship regimes in Latin America, starting from Argentina’s “dirty war”, a term which reflects the lives lost due to the political repression of the military dictatorship under Jorge Rafael Videla. Organized in the mid-1970s, Operation Condor was a covert political campaign which specifically used disappearance as a tool of physical repression involving the intelligence and security branches of many countries of the Southern Cone. Most of the countries participated in forced disappearances directly or indirectly. http://bit.ly/1NKZ5Jq

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.