Daily World News Digest, 26 January 2016

Police forces discover new mass grave in western Iraq

Press TV, Iranian broadcasting service, carried a story today saying that Iraqi police have found a new mass grave in the western province of Anbar, containing the remains of scores of people believed to have been executed by Takfiri Daesh militants. The source said the mass grave is thought to contain the remains of as many as 50 civilians and soldiers killed by Daesh on 28 December. Many of the bodies bear signs of torture or other violence, including bullet wounds, and some have even been dismembered and decapitated. The discovery came more than a week after Iraqi Kurdish fighters found a mass grave in the country’s northwestern town of Sinjar. http://bit.ly/1ZPxmO4

Sri Lanka Missing Persons Panel seeks extension of mandate

The Indian Express reported today that the Sri Lankan Missing Persons’ Commission headed by retired Justice Maxwell Paranagama, has requested the government to extend its term by a year from 15 February, 2016 as it still has thousands of cases to investigate. Justice Paranagama told that out of the 14,000 representations from civilians before it, interviews have been conducted only in 5,000 cases so far. “And we haven’t even touched the 5600 representations from the families of disappeared Security Forces personnel,” he pointed out. In September 2015 the UN Human Rights Commissioner, Prince Zeid, asked the government to wind it up and replace it with a more “credible” body. http://bit.ly/1QxQIqw

Egypt’s myth of stability: Gross abuses don’t deliver security

Amnesty International issued a news on 25 January saying that five years ago, human rights defender Ahmed Abdullah was among thousands of Egyptians who took to the streets for 18 days of mass protests in Cairo, eventually forcing then-President Mubarak to step down and the security forces to retreat. Today, Ahmed is on the run. The NGO which he chairs, the Egyptian Commission for Rights and Freedoms, had recently exposed a surge in enforced disappearances, which has seen hundreds vanish at the hands of state security forces over the last year alone. Five years since the uprising that ousted Mubarak, Egypt is once more a police state. Reports of torture and other ill-treatment of detainees are widespread. http://bit.ly/1S6xqdr

Thai Muslim human rights appointee raises plight of disappeared

Anadolu Agency reported on 25 January that twelve years after her husband was forced into a waiting car, never to be seen again, a newly elected Muslim member of Thailand’s human rights commission says she has made the fight against such enforced disappearances a priority. “A law on enforced disappearance has been drafted two years ago, and is now waiting cabinet approval,” Angkhana Neelapaijitr said. The last people to see he husband Somchai Neelapaijitr — the then chairman of the Muslim Lawyers Association of Thailand — alive were police officers. According to Human Rights Watch, on 12 March, 2004, five officers pulled Somchai from his car in Bangkok. The new law Neelapaijitr is championing would allow relatives to act as plaintiffs on behalf of their disappeared relatives. http://bit.ly/1nMhKz9

UN calls for more support for Nigeria’s Boko Haram displaced

Voice of America reported on 25 January saying that three UN special investigators who visited three displaced persons camps in war-torn Borno State say Nigeria must do more to help its people, particularly its women and children. Boko Haram’s nearly seven-year quest to impose strict Islamic law across the country’s northeast has killed more than 20,000 people and displaced more than two million others. In recent months, Nigerian troops have rescued large groups of people taken captive by the militants; most were women and children. Urmilla Bhoola, special investigator on contemporary forms of slavery, urged the government to increase efforts to locate Chibok girls kidnapped by Boko Haram. http://bit.ly/1JzpiPE

Thailand: Missing, but not forgotten

The Bangkok Post, a daily from Thailand, carried a story today saying that in 2006, Chaipas “Ten” Danguagul went out to play with his friends. He never came home. A year later, his father passed away and his mother continued the search for her son. At many Bangkok intersections, giant digital screens now flash pictures of children who’ve gone missing, a reminder that disappearances remain a pressing issue. Since the beginning of this year the number of reported missing people cited by the Mirror Foundation database is more than 70. Since 2003 there have been around 3,000 cases of missing persons. The Mirror Foundation has been working towards the issue of missing persons for 12 years with the primary objective of putting an end to human trafficking. http://bit.ly/1PzgAmP

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.