Daily World News Digest, 24 March 2015

8,000 persons still missing after the 1992 – 1995 war in Bosnia

Bosnia Today carried a summary on 21 March of an interview with the Director-General of the International Commission on Missing Persons that appeared the same day in the daily newspaper Oslobodjenje. It noted that around 23,000 persons have been found and identified, but about 8,000 persons are still missing from the conflict of the early 90s. Bomberger said the key challenge now is to maintain public and political focus on finding missing persons. She pointed out that this task is more difficult because the number of people being found is falling every year. Therefore, it is necessary to take into account additional sources of information, such as aerial photography to locate clandestine graves. http://bit.ly/1BozJun

20 “missing” in Bangladesh this year

The Daily Star news portal from Bangladesh reported on 23 March that rights group Ain O Salish Kendra (ASK) on 22 March expressed concern over what it described as a rising number of illegal detentions. It said family members have alleged that plainclothes police detained 20 people across Bangladesh between 1 January and 16 March, subsequently denying involvement. ASK stressed that police and government authorities are responsible for finding missing persons, and it noted that the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has written to the Home Ministry, asking it to instruct law enforcement authorities to end detentions by plainclothes officials. http://bit.ly/1EDZZmG

Mexican state seeks missing persons by “knocking on doors”

The Latin American Herald Tribune reported on 23 March that in Veracruz, one of the states hit hardest by Mexico’s drug war, authorities have been able to reduce the list of disappeared people by using the simple technique of “knocking on doors.” Adoption of the tactic has enabled the Gulf coast state to slash the number of those officially listed as missing from 2,667 to 753, according to the missing-persons unit in the Veracruz Attorney General’s Office. Authorities managed to track down 1,914 of the 2,667 people reported missing in the state from 2006 through 2014, achieving a success rate of 72 percent, among the highest of Mexico’s 32 jurisdictions. http://bit.ly/1FSf3B5

UK government announces legislation to help families of the missing

The Voice news portal from the United Kingdom reported on 23 March on new legislation designed to help families deal with the effects of a loved one going missing. New legal powers announced by Minister of State for Justice Edward Faulks on 23 March will mean that families can step in, take control, and safeguard their loved one’s assets in their absence – for example being able to suspend direct debits for mobile phone and utility bills or to make mortgage payments. The provisional proposals were developed by the Ministry of Justice with the help of the leading charity in the missing persons field, Missing People. http://bit.ly/1Fxe22B

Sri Lanka’s missing persons commission postpones report

The Colombo Page news portal reported on 23 March that the Presidential Commission Investigating Cases of Missing Persons in Sri Lanka has decided to postpone the presentation of its interim report to President Maithripala Sirisena. The report, which has already been finalized, was to be have been handed to the President on 18 March. However, the Chairman of the Commission Maxwell Paranagama announced that this has been postponed, though it will be handed to the President before the publication of the report of the UN OHCHR Investigation on Sri Lanka (OISL) into alleged war crimes. http://bit.ly/1FRHFdN

“Take Me Home” program to help find missing persons faster

The Times of San Diego reported on 23 March that police officials announced on Monday the online expansion of a program designed to help authorities find Alzheimer’s patients and others with cognitive disabilities as quickly as possible should they go missing. The “Take Me Home” service, which makes use of a database accessible by all local law enforcement agencies, is now available to the public at the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department‘s website. Previously, applicants had to go to a sheriff’s station to file paperwork. The program allows families and caretakers to upload key information — including photographs, physical descriptions, areas frequented and emergency contacts — that can help public-safety personnel more rapidly track down dependent and at-risk people if they wander off from their homes or get lost during outings. http://bit.ly/1OuPU3q

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.