Daily World News Digest, 25 May 2015

Malaysian police find 139 suspected migrant graves

The BBC reports today that Malaysian police say 139 suspected migrant grave sites have been found in 28 people-trafficking camps along the Thai border. National police chief Khalid Abu Bakar said some of the graves, found since 11 May, may contain more than one body. They are close to an area of Thailand where trafficking camps and dozens of shallow graves were found this month. Thailand subsequently cracked down on the routes used by traffickers to move migrants through its territory. The operation forced traffickers to move the migrants by sea instead. But thousands were left stranded after the traffickers abandoned them and no country would take them in. The traffickers have been using the jungles of southern Thailand and northern Malaysia for years to smuggle people into Malaysia. Most of the migrants are Rohingya Muslims fleeing persecution in Myanmar, rights groups say, but others are Bangladeshis seeking employment in Malaysia. http://bbc.in/1Ku8Bnk

Migrant crisis: Indonesia begins search and rescue

The BBC reported on 23 May that Indonesia has begun search and rescue missions for the thousands of migrants believed to be adrift in its waters. The country had initially been fending off boats but has since agreed to provide them with temporary shelter. Over 3,000 people, mostly Bangladeshi or Rohingya Muslims from Myanmar, have arrived in Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand in the past two weeks. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has called on Southeast Asian nations to do more to protect migrants. “It’s important to save human lives. Whatever the reasons may be when they are out on the sea, their life is endangered,” Mr Ban said in a speech in Vietnam. http://bbc.in/1Lws4Sc

Gambians run fatal gauntlet to make Mediterranean crossing

The JollofNews web portal from Gambia reports today that despite warnings from shipwreck survivors and the international community, Gambians are refusing to abandon dreams of a new life in Europe even if it means risking their lives to cross the Mediterranean aboard rickety boats. In the capital Banjul, they talk of nightmare desert road trips, of mistreatment by traffickers and of relatives drowning, and yet the only thing stopping many from making the journey themselves is a lack of cash. Every Gambian who has failed to reach southern Europe has their own horror story, many never getting as far as securing a place on a boat, the article says, before describing in detail the experience of one group of Gambians who tried to make the journey to Europe, having paid US$1,000 each, who were victims of an armed attack en route to Libya. http://bit.ly/1KuLrxl

New Zealand police urged to change missing persons response

Radio New Zealand reports today that the father of a 21-year-old man who drowned after he went missing from Waikato Hospital on the country’s North Island has called on police to change their response to missing persons reports. Nicholas Stevens, a patient at the hospital, who had a history of self-harm, drowned after being let out on an unsupervised smoking break in March. His father has made a formal complaint against the New Zealand police, citing poor communication and a lack of urgency in the police response after Nicholas went missing. He said police should respond in the same way when those with mental health issues go missing as they do when children or old people go missing. http://bit.ly/1ce4v3Z

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.