Daily World News Digest, 28 April 2016

Asian ambassadors discuss issue of missing persons

The Diplomat, a magazine from the Netherlands, reported on 27 April that Sri Lanka’s Ambassador to the Netherlands, A. M. J. Sadiq, hosted a meeting of ambassadors from Asia in The Hague to highlight the work of the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) and to discuss the issue of missing and disappeared persons in the region. “ The issue of missing persons is a global phenomenon, and Asian countries are unfortunately also affected by it, through a variety of causes”, Ambassador Sadiq said, adding that since ICMP now has its headquarters in The Hague it was possible to invite ambassadors to meet with ICMP Director-General Kathryn Bomberger to learn more about ICMP’s mandate and activities. http://bit.ly/1SM0YuV

Bones found in Thai forest indicate forced disappearances

The Nation, a daily from Thailand, reported today that the discovery of mass-cremation sites in an Udon Thani forest has confirmed local suspicions that it was long a place to dispose of the bodies of murder victims. At least 23 separate piles of bones were found in the degraded forest area of the northeastern province’s Ban Phue district. The Institute of Forensic Medicine says the bones retrieved from 20 of the 23 sites are human. It estimates that the cremations date back more than 10 years and the newest remains are six months old. http://bit.ly/1VDKxo5

What became of 1,400 people who disappeared in Nepal?

Al Jazeera carried a story on 27 April saying that more than 10 years after a bloody civil war ended in Nepal, the country has finally started a process of transitional justice. Some 16,000 people were killed in a decade of Maoist rebellion and at least 1,400 went missing, most at the hands of security forces. The families of those who disappeared during the 1996-2006 conflict have finally started to register their complaints. The Commission of Investigation on Enforced Disappeared Persons and the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) were formed last year after many delays. Ram Kumar Bhandari, who has been campaigning for the families of the disappeared, said the commissions were not well-prepared and that many people in rural areas were not even aware of them. http://bit.ly/1SBVhgN

Mexico ombudsman’s office probing alleged treatment of detainees in missing 43 case

Fox News Latino carried a story on 27 April saying that Mexico’s National Human Rights Commission, or CNDH, said it was investigating dozens of cases of alleged torture and mistreatment of suspects arrested for their purported involvement in the September 2014 disappearance of 43 trainee teachers. The CNDH, Mexico’s equivalent of an ombudsman’s office, also criticized Mexican authorities for not responding to its requests pertaining to the allegations in a timely manner. It said Tuesday it had received 47 complaints of torture, four of mistreatment and 11 of arbitrary arrest and would present the findings of its investigation shortly. http://bit.ly/1T6ibMC

Balochistan: More than 12,000 people arrested under National Action Plan

Balochwarna News reported on 27 April that Balochistan’s home secretary, Akbar Hussain Durrani, acknowledged during an interview on Tuesday that more than 12,000 people have been arrested so far across Balochistan under Pakistan’s anti-terrorist National Action Plan. The Home Secretary however, did not say anything about the whereabouts of arrested people or about their well-being. http://bit.ly/1NVGUSg

Egypt human rights activist accused of belonging to terrorist group

Human Rights First carried a story on 27 April saying that Ahmad Abdallah, a prominent human rights defender arrested in Egypt, is being accused by the government of a series of offenses including, “Belonging to a terrorist group.”  He was one of those rounded up in the last week, HRF said. Abdallah is the Head of Board of Trustees of Egyptian Commission for Rights and Freedoms (ECRF), an organization that has documented an alarming rise in enforced disappearances over the last year. He has also been providing legal advice to the family of Giulio Regeni, the Italian student murdered in Cairo earlier this year. http://bit.ly/1SLUdcq

Indonesia’s search for mass graves met with skepticism

ABC News reported on 27 April that the Indonesian government’s decision to investigate anti-communist massacres in 1965 is being met with wariness by rights groups, some of which are reluctant to share information about mass graves until the government shows how it will conduct the probe. But Pandjaitan, a retired army general, has not instilled confidence that a genuine investigation will take place, saying the government would never apologize and that the death toll is wildly exaggerated, and demanding that advocacy groups prove that mass graves exist. Haris Azhar of advocacy group Kontras said for his group to share its information, the government must announce a clear and highly specific plan for the investigation. http://abcn.ws/1YTh0EK

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.