Daily World News Digest, 27 October 2016

Mediterranean crossings three times deadlier this year

The Washington Post carried an article today analyzing the very high mortality rate of migrants crossing the Mediterranean, stating that the number of people who have died this year trying to reach Europe via smuggling routes across the Mediterranean Sea has surpassed last year’s total. A spokesman for the United Nations’ refugee agency said that 3,800 had died attempting the voyage this year, though only about a third as many as last year have tried to make the crossing. This points to a change in migration dynamics that has made reaching Europe three times deadlier. It says the reasons include “the unintended consequences of hard-nosed decisions by governments”, as well as “the inevitable consequences of reckless decisions by smugglers”. http://wapo.st/2fd1cQx

Almost 100 missing after boat carrying migrants sinks off Libyan coast

Sputnik News reported today that as many as 97 people are missing after a boat carrying more than 100 migrants sank off the Libyan shore, according to a spokesman for the Libyan coast guard. Ayoub Qassem said the vessel carrying 126 people sank on Wednesday 26 miles from the Tajura lighthouse and was spotted by a tanker which alerted the coastguard. As many as 29 people were rescued by the tanker. http://bit.ly/2eTjp1x

Call for investigations into disappearances in Fallujah

The Geneva International Centre for Justice (GICJ) issued an urgent appeal yesterday calling on UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein and to the UN Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances to take immediate action to investigate the disappearance of 643 individuals from Saqlawiya (Al Anbar province, Iraq), on 2-5 June 2016 following “the ‘liberation campaign’ launched against the city of Fallujah in May 2016 allegedly aiming at retaking the city from ISIS”.  http://bit.ly/2fi4xy2

Call for release of Laos dissidents

The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders and the Lao Movement for Human Rights (LMHR) yesterday called on the authorities in Laos immediately and unconditionally to release two former pro-democracy student leaders who have been arbitrarily detained for 17 years and disclose the fate or whereabouts of two others. Mr. Thongpaseuth Keuakoun and Mr. Sengaloun Phengphanh, two former student leaders with the Lao Students Movement for Democracy (LSMD), are believed to be detained in Samkhe prison, located on the eastern outskirts of Vientiane. Messrs. Thongpaseuth and Sengaloun were arrested in Vientiane on October 26, 1999, along with fellow LSMD members Mr. Bouavanh Chanhmanivong, Mr. Khamphouvieng Sisa-at, and Mr. Keochay, for planning peaceful demonstrations that called for democracy, social justice, and respect for human rights. All five were subsequently sentenced to 20 years in prison for “generating social turmoil and endangering national security.”  http://bit.ly/2fdFFr7

Nigerian army claims 39 soldiers missing after Boko Haram attack

All Africa carried an article today about what it says is confusion in the Nigerian military following a major attack by Boko Haram in the northeast of the country. Nigerian army sources have variously reported that 39 soldiers and 83 soldiers are missing following the attack. Several of the retreating soldiers were feared dead from drowning in the River Yobe. http://bit.ly/2eIxcvn  

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.