Daily World News Digest, 28 December 2016

UN call to preserve evidence of crimes in Aleppo

Tass carries an article today stating that the UN hopes evidence of crimes in eastern Aleppo will be preserved until its monitors gain access to mass graves in the city. A Russian Defense Ministry spokesman told reporters on Monday that mass graves of civilians who had been tortured and massacred had been found in Aleppo. “My understanding is that we do not yet have access to the area in East Aleppo, but that if there is evidence of a war crime we would expect it to be appropriately preserved,” Stephane Dujarric said. http://bit.ly/2iqg7W3

Russian military report mass graves of civilians in Aleppo
Deutsche Welle carried a story on 26 December saying that Russia’s military had reported finding the tortured bodies of civilians in mass graves in Aleppo on Monday, allegedly left there by rebel groups. Troops found dozens of bodies, many shot in the head and showing signs of abuse and mutilation, Defense Ministry spokesperson Major General Igor Konashenkov said. Russian media agency SANA reported that 21 civilian bodies, including those of five women and five children, were found in eastern areas of the city previously held by rebels. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said bodies had been found in east Aleppo’s streets but the UK-based monitoring group could not specify how they had died. Last week 35,000 opposition fighters and civilians left the city as part of a ceasefire deal. The United Nations previously said it had credible reports that at least 82 civilians, including 11 women and 13 children, were executed by pro-government forces in Aleppo. http://bit.ly/2hsYPKZ

New database in Texas to identify missing migrants
The Houston Chronicle reported yesterday that the Texas Observer has launched this month an online database in English and Spanish that shows personal items found with bodies of deceased migrants in South Texas. The new database is designed to help bring closure to families of the missing. Some of the migrants were found in June 2014 in mass graves in a cemetery where remains were discovered in trash bags, shopping bags or no containers at all. Reports indicate that hundreds of migrants have gone missing near the Texas-Mexico border while attempting to cross into the United States illegally. http://bit.ly/2iDip3h

Police in China’s Shenzhen detain friends, relatives of missing love ones
Radio Free Asia (RFA) reports today that a healthcare worker in the southern Chinese province of Guangdong is being held alongside his nephew on suspicion of subversion after his nephew went to inquire after his whereabouts, according to relatives. Deng Hongcheng was among a group of 10 activists who went missing and are believed to detained last month in Shenzhen, which borders the former British colony of Hong Kong. His nephew Deng Jianfeng also went incommunicado after going to inquire after his uncle’s whereabouts, a relative has confirmed. “My cousin just went to try to find [Deng Hongcheng], but now he is being held under the same charge, subversion of state power,” a cousin who asked to remain anonymous told RFA. “The only reason for this is that they were holding my uncle on a subversion charge; my brother never did or said anything to disrespect the [ruling Chinese Communist] Party,” he said. “He was just an ordinary citizen.” He said the same date was given for both men’s detention under “residential surveillance.” http://bit.ly/2hw5PHh

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.