Daily World News Digest, 26 February 2016

In Guatemala, military stands trial for sexual slavery

Al Jazeera America carried a story on 25 February saying that boxes containing the remains and personal effects of 48 people who were found in Tinajas were displayed in court on 8 February as part of the trial of soldiers accused of sex crimes during the country’s 36-year civil war. Forensic archaeologists cut open the boxes one by one and laid out their contents including bags with human bones found in the former military base at Finca Tinajas, in northeastern Guatemala. Acidic soil degraded the bones beyond possibility of identification. The trial marks Guatemala’s efforts to hold former military officials accountable for crimes committed during the war that left 45,000 missing persons. http://bit.ly/1XPox7F

Iraqi forces discover mass graves in Anbar province

Press TV, Iranian broadcasting service, reported today that Iraqi forces have uncovered a number of mass graves in Anbar province. The graves were discovered during operations by the army to secure more regions from the terrorists in the restive region. Officials say the recent atrocities committed by Daesh terrorists against civilians in Anbar have sparked an uprising among local tribes there. In the recent time, many mass graves have been discovered by the Iraqi forces. http://bit.ly/1WNc3w6

Colombia sisters reunited 30 years after avalanche with the help of DNA

The BBC carried a story today saying that Jaqueline and Lorena Sanchez were separated in 1985 when a volcano near their town of Armero, in Tolima Department, erupted. It triggered an avalanche which killed at least 20,000 people in the town. The two sisters were adopted by separate families and never knew each other’s fate. The two sisters found each other after DNA tests, a social media campaign and with help from the Armando Armero foundation set up to help victims of the disaster. The foundation organized DNA tests for the women and a positive match was identified. http://bbc.in/21vXNLp

Turkey attempting to shift its responsibilities on missing persons issue, Cyprus says

Cyprus Mail reported on 25 February that Cyprus government responded to Turkish document sent to the Council of Europe’s Committee of Ministers last month, asking for access to military areas in the Republic in the search for missing persons. “Turkey’s obligation to investigate the fate of Greek Cypriot missing persons, as stipulated in the ruling of the European Court of Human Rights, should not be confused with the CMP’s mission to investigate the fate of all missing persons,” the memo said. http://bit.ly/1Lhu98H

Enforced disappearances are the unending struggle in Kashmir

Greater Kashmir news portal carried a story today saying that on the night of 18 January, 2002 the counter-insurgency troops of 35 Rashtriya Rifles allegedly took Manzoor Ahmad Dar to Cargo—one of the most dreaded torture centers in Srinagar – for questioning. He never came back. After her husband’s inexplicable disappearance, Jana became a ‘half-widow’. When the local police refused to register a case against the army’ after Dar’s disappearance, the family and some locals protested for days outside their house. Instead of giving up, she decided to fight back for justice. http://bit.ly/1Lhvc8A

Algeria: Government bars UN experts from probing human rights abuses

The North Africa Post reported on 25 February that Amnesty International lashed out at Algerian authorities in its human rights annual report presented Wednesday because of their persistent refusal to let UN experts investigate human right abuses. The annual report indicates that over the year 2015, the State brutally handled gatherings and protests by activists and people claiming their rights. “The authorities continued to fail to investigate thousands of enforced disappearances and other serious human rights violations and abuses, bring perpetrators to justice, and provide effective remedies to victims’ families,” the report adds. http://bit.ly/1Rs2D7Q

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.