Daily World News Digest, 24 July 2015

Brazil: denial of justice for Rio disappearances shows justice system “unfit for purpose”

Amnesty International issued a statement today saying that the continuing failure to undertake effective investigations into the enforced disappearances of 11 young people in a favela in Rio de Janeiro 25 years ago and the brutal murder of one of the mothers seeking justice clearly shows the shocking state of Brazil’s criminal justice system. On 26 July 1990, eight children and three young people from the favela of Acari in Rio de Janeiro were abducted by a group of men who identified themselves as police officers. The 11 were never seen again. “The fact that a quarter of a century after 11 people were forcibly disappeared and still no one knows what happened speaks volumes about the state of human rights in Brazil,” said Atila Roque, Director at Amnesty International Brazil. http://bit.ly/1RWPbfC

Memorial service for Serb farmers gunned down in Kosovo

The b92 news portal from Serbia reported on 23 July that a memorial service has been held for 14 Serbian farmers shot and killed while harvesting their fields on July 23, 1999 in the village of Staro Gacko in Kosovo. The massacre is one of the most serious incidents targeting Serbs in the province after the arrival of international missions there, and remains unsolved, b92 said. http://bit.ly/1Iic7Lu

UN urges Egypt to clarify forcible disappearances

The Middle East Monitor reported on 23 July that the UN has issued a resolution calling for the Egyptian government to clarify the reasons behind the forcible disappearance of dozens of Egyptian citizens, including children. The National Council for Human Rights said in June that it received 60 complaints regarding the forced disappearance of Egyptians. Amnesty International estimated the number of forcibly disappeared Egyptians as 44, while other rights groups claim that since the coup as many as 163 people have gone missing in custody. Meanwhile, Human Rights Watch issued a report on Monday in which it highlighted the issue of forcible disappearances in Egypt. “Egyptian authorities should immediately disclose their whereabouts and hold those responsible to account,” the report said. http://bit.ly/1LGXLK3

Despite grave human rights abuses in Mexico, State Department aid keeps flowing

The Huffington Post reported on 23 July that the United States State Department recently released its 2014 Human Rights Report, which documents international human rights conditions to help inform decision-making for foreign aid allocations. The latest report describes grave human rights conditions in Mexico, including abuses committed by government agents, use of torture, poorly investigated disappearances, and widespread impunity. Disappearances, including those ordered by the police and military themselves, remain a huge problem in Mexico. Most of these disappearances, the report states, occurred in the course of sanctioned security operations. There is a lack of reliable information on the exact number of disappearances, and statistics vary significantly. http://huff.to/1JCaAkn

Chad trial is a warning for Africa’s tyrants

The Mail and Guardian, South African weekly newspaper, carried a story today saying that former Chadian leader Hissène Habré went on trial in Senegal this week, accused of crimes against humanity, war crimes and torture committed during his eight-year rule from 1982 to 1990. The opening of the case on Monday at the Palais de Justice in Dakar represented a historic step for African justice: it is the first time that the courts of one country on the continent have prosecuted the former ruler of another for alleged human rights crimes. Habré (72) is accused of having presided over a network of secret police, known as the Direction de la Documentation et de la Sécurité (DDS), which was responsible for thousands of executions, enforced disappearances, torture and arrests. http://bit.ly/1DAWihV

The Gambia: President Yahya Jammeh gets “letter from the grave” on 21st year in power

AllAfrica carried a story on 22 July saying that “President Yahya Jammeh’s twenty-first anniversary in power was marked by a joint letter to West Africa’s King of Impunity.” In the past seven years, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Community Court of Justice has issued three judgments against The Gambia for its failure to exercise due diligence in investigating allegations of torture, enforced disappearances and extrajudicial killings. http://bit.ly/1MLVTOQ

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.