Daily World News Digest, 28 February 2017

Libya exposed as “an epicenter for migrant child abuse”

The BBC carries a story today on a Unicef report that says children are suffering from violence and sexual abuse at the hands of smugglers and traffickers, but they rarely report their abuse, for fear of arrest and deportation. Unicef says almost 26,000 children – most of them unaccompanied – crossed the Mediterranean last year. “A Deadly Journey for Children” documents slavery, violence and sexual abuse experienced by huge numbers of vulnerable children making their perilous way to Italy. Libya, as the funnel through which so many journeys pass, has earned itself the shocking reputation as the epicenter of abuse, it says. The report maps 34 known detention centers in Libya, three of them deep in the country’s desert interior. Most are run by the government’s Department for Combating Illegal Migration. But Unicef says that armed groups also hold migrants in an unknown number of unofficial camps. http://bbc.in/2myMy6V

UNHCR reports disappearances on Mediterranean migration route 

ReliefWeb released an article yesterday on UNHCR report that details the impact of increased border restrictions, introduced in 2016, on refugee and migrant movements towards and inside Europe. After the “closure” of the Western Balkan route and the EU-Turkey Statement in March 2016, the number of people reaching Greece via the Eastern Mediterranean route drastically decreased. The Central Mediterranean route from North Africa to Italy has since become the primary entry point to Europe. However, arrival trends in Italy show that the primary nationalities crossing to Greece did not switch in significant numbers to the Central Mediterranean route. Those who came to Italy in 2016 included people in need of international protection, and also victims of trafficking and migrants seeking better lives. In addition, UNHCR has received deeply worrying reports of refugees and migrants kidnapped, held against their will for several days, physically and sexually abused, tortured or extorted by smugglers and criminal gangs at several points along key routes. http://bit.ly/2m649FR

UN Human Rights Council to review progress in Sri Lanka

Lankaweb reported yesterday that at the current session of the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC), Sri Lanka is likely to be given more time to meet its commitments under the UNHRC resolution it co-sponsored in September 2015. It says this has aroused criticism from human rights groups and Tamil Diaspora organizations. Officially, 65,000 people have gone missing in Sri Lanka since 1994. The September 2015 resolution is part of the present government’s effort to address the issue of missing persons and other human rights issues. http://bit.ly/2m17UMd

Effort to map mass graves from 1972 to 2008 in Burundi

Lwacu, a news agency from Burundi, reported yesterday that the National Commission for Truth and Reconciliation-CVR has started to identify the number of mass graves in Burundi from the 1972-2008 period. Aloys Batungwanayo, Chairperson of the Association for the Memory and Protection of Humanity against International Crimes- AMEPCI-Gira Ubuntu, was quoted by Lwacu as saying that there are an estimated 2,500 mass graves from this period. “The mass graves are scattered throughout the country. Even in 2016, two mass graves were discovered in Mutakura and Kanyosha neighborhoods of the capital Bujumbura”, he said. http://bit.ly/2m1chH0

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.