Daily World News Digest, 26 May 2015

Serbia told to send Seselj to The Hague

Balkan Insight reports today that two months after its initial decision to revoke war crimes defendant Seselj’s temporary release for cancer treatment, the appeals chamber of the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia has asked the Serbian Justice Ministry to send him back to the UN detention center in the Netherlands. The Justice Ministry said on Tuesday that it received the request on Monday evening, and will now send it to the government, which will then “take a stance in relation to that”. Seselj is on trial for wartime crimes in Bosnia, Croatia and Serbia but returned to Belgrade after being granted temporary release on humanitarian grounds in November. He is being recalled to custody for breaching the terms of his release after he stated several times that he would not return to the court for the verdict in his trial. Since returning to Belgrade in November, he has led nationalist protests and made a series of hardline statements that have angered war victims. http://bit.ly/1Bn8mlU

National Missing Children’s Day: Search Continues in Florida

NorthEscambia.com, a web portal in the US state of Florida, reported on 25 May on local ceremonies to mark National Missing Children’s Day, an annual commemoration inaugurated by President Ronald Reagan in 1983. It noted that in 2014, Florida law enforcement agencies received 35,038 reports of missing children and the state’s Missing Persons and Offender Registration unit provided direct assistance in the recovery of 76 missing children. The unit invites the public to sign up to receive Missing Child Alerts and AMBER Alerts via email or text message. http://bit.ly/1LCzwui

One child lost every five hours in South Africa

Prensa Latina reported on 25 May that a child is lost every five hours in South Africa, according to official police data, cited by local media in the framework of International Missing Children’s Day. The Missing Persons Office reported that just under 1,700 children were reported missing in 2013 and although many were reunited with their families, around a quarter were not found. The South Africa figure compares to one child lost every 40 seconds in the US, according to Prensa Latina. http://bit.ly/1duE3Vh

UK Celebrities join campaign to help locate youngsters

The Argus newspaper from Brighton in the UK, reports today that celebrities have joined thousands of Twitter followers in a national campaign to find missing youngsters including a teenager who has been missing from Eastbourne for more than a year. Celebrities including Stephen Fry and Simon Cowell joined a 24-hour charity Twitter campaign to help find missing children including Bekim Ferati who went missing from Eastbourne 15 months ago. The Missing People’s charity’s Big Tweet on International Missing Children’s Day also sent out an appeal to millions of people worldwide about the whereabouts of Lancing teen Katie Sallis, who went missing earlier this month. The charity tweeted a different appeal for a missing child every 30 minutes for 24 hours throughout Monday and encouraged followers around the world to spread the message. http://bit.ly/1EuRDwL

Ireland: social media keep memories of missing persons alive

The Irish Examiner reports today that social media awareness campaigns are helping to keep the memories of missing children alive, according to the Irish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (ISPCC). Speaking on Monday – International Missing Children’s Day – ISPCC Director of Services Caroline O’Sullivan said: “There have been cases, however rare, where people have been found after extremely long periods so it’s important to keep the memory alive. Poster campaigns are important because they may trigger a memory.” She said Twitter and Facebook were becoming increasingly important in spreading information about missing persons. http://bit.ly/1duhyQi

Human rights activists call on Turkey to address enforced disappearances

The Bianet news portal from Turkey reports today that the Human Rights Association and family members of forcibly disappeared people are organizing demonstrations within the scope of International Week against Disappearances. Rights activists have called on Turkish society to “face the past” and enact a law to establish a truth and reconciliation commission, accede to the International Convention against Enforced Disappearance, ban enforced disappearances and recognize this as a crime against humanity. They have also called on the authorities to open mass graves with the cooperation of human rights and other related non-governmental organizations, and to create DNA banks. In addition, public prosecutors should identify offenders among security and military police units, activists say. The authorities have also been urged to abolish internal security legislation and end impunity for public officials. http://bit.ly/1Kx6CP3

Political executions in Egypt

The Global Post reports today that since the coup that swept Muslim Brotherhood President Mohamed Morsi from power, hundreds of his supporters have been handed death sentences in a rash of mass trials. Until this month, only one had been carried out — against a man convicted of throwing another man off a roof. A little over a week ago, however, six men sentenced to death by a military court were executed on charges of belonging to militant group Ansar Beit al-Maqdis and attacking security forces. The day before, a Cairo court sentenced ousted President Morsi and 120 others to death on charges related to a mass prison break during the 2011 uprisings. Some were sentenced in absentia, including Sondos Asem, a young Oxford University student who used to work as a media coordinator for Morsi, and Emad Shahin, a well-known professor at the American University in Cairo. The six executions of political opponents mark the first overtly political killings ordered under Abdel Fattah el-Sisi’s leadership, the Global Post says. http://bit.ly/1cg344S

Announcement by the Committee on Missing Persons in Cyprus

On 26 May the Famagusta Gazette carried an announcement by the Committee on Missing Persons in Cyprus responding to recent media reports of potential burial sites and forthcoming excavations. “The Committee on Missing Persons in Cyprus (CMP) has a strict policy not to comment on ongoing or future excavations.  In doing so, the CMP protects the families of missing persons, whose longstanding suffering is further compounded when false expectations are raised by speculative reports. Only after rigorous scientific analyses have confirmed the nature of excavation sites or identities of missing persons will the CMP be in a position to publicly comment on its findings. The CMP, therefore, encourages news organizations to carefully verify information and consider its effects on relatives of missing persons before publication,” the statement read. http://bit.ly/1erTmhw

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.