Daily World News Digest, 23 November 2016

Cambodian tribunal upholds life terms for Khmer Rouge leaders

Voice of America reports today that the UN-backed tribunal in Cambodia has upheld life sentences given to two former leaders of the Khmer Rouge regime for crimes against humanity. Khieu Samphan, the former head of state, and Nuon Chea, second in command to Khmer Rouge leader Pol Pot, were originally sentenced in 2014 in connection with charges of extermination, enforced disappearances and political persecution. The tribunal has convicted one other person, while many of the Khmer Rouge leaders have died. The Khmer Rouge oversaw the deaths of an estimated 1.7 million Cambodians between 1975 and 1979. http://bit.ly/2gAe5Vt

Migrant crisis: more die in the Mediterranean

Middle East Eye reported yesterday that at least eight people had died and many more were missing, feared dead, after migrant boats were believed to have sunk in the Mediterranean. The Italian coastguard said one of its boats had recovered seven bodies. Another person died on a rescue boat operated by Malta-based charity MOAS and the Red Cross. The Red Cross said that survivors’ accounts suggested “many” people were unaccounted for, including the mother of a young girl who was among the traumatized survivors on MOAS’s boat, the Topaz Responder. The coastguard said a total of around 1,200 people had been rescued during operations overnight and on Tuesday morning. http://bit.ly/2g2ejRP

Disappearance of 60,000 Colombians Impacts All Society

Telesur published an article yesterday on the huge number of missing persons in Colombia as a result of the five-decade long conflict. The number of forced disappearances in the country is not only a shocking but has also deeply affected every aspect of society, it says, quoting a report published on Tuesday by Colombia’s National Center for Historical Memory. From 1970 to 2015, a shocking 60,630 people were forcibly disappeared in Colombia — the most in all of Latin America — but also disturbing is the social-political toll it has taken and will continue to take on communities around the country. The study said that this type of violence is “created with the ultimate end of affecting society in general.” http://bit.ly/2gjotOQ

South Sudan: new abuse of civilians by both sides 

Relief Web reported yesterday that government and rebel forces in and around South Sudan’s southern town of Yei have committed serious abuses against civilians in recent months, according to Human Rights Watch. The abuses include killings, rapes, and arbitrary arrests by government forces and abductions by rebels. The abuses HRW has documented in Yei are just the latest example of attacks on civilians by both sides in the current conflict. Fighting between the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) forces and rebels and attacks by both parties on civilians intensified in the country’s southern regions in the wake of clashes in the capital, Juba, in early July 2016. Hundreds of thousands of civilians have fled the Greater Equatoria region in the south as a result. http://bit.ly/2fEfPJs

The Lost City of Sinjar

Voice of America published an article yesterday about Sinjar in Iraq, once home to roughly 80,000 people in the traditional homeland of the Yazidi people. The city now lies in ruins and thousands are buried in mass graves nearby. Few families have returned since peshmerga soldiers captured Sinjar a year ago. Several military groups allied against Islamic State are stationed in the area. Fear of renewed violence is always present, as peshmerga forces continue to defend the city against IS militants just a few kilometers away. http://bit.ly/2geSv8D

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.