Daily World News Digest, 28 May 2015

Malaysia investigates police over links to mass graves

The BBC reports today that Malaysia is investigating 12 policemen suspected of involvement in human-trafficking camps found in the remote north of the country. Four of them had been arrested during various police investigations since early last year, said Deputy Home Minister Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar. Authorities said 139 graves had been found on the border with Thailand. The route is used by people-smugglers bringing migrants from Myanmar and Bangladesh into Malaysia. The migrants are mainly Rohingya Muslims fleeing persecution in Myanmar or economic migrants from Bangladesh. http://bbc.in/1FhQbj2

Enforced disappearances remain major problem in Asia

UCA News from the Philippines reports today on the issue of enforced disappearances.  “Asia has the most number of cases of enforced disappearances around the world,” said Mary Aileen Bacalso, secretary general of the Asian Federation against Involuntary Disappearance (AFAD), on the occasion of this year’s observance of the International Week of the Disappeared. Bacalso said that in Kashmir alone some 8,000 young men vanished in the 1990s, most of whom are believed to be buried in unmarked graves. Among Asian nations, Sri Lanka accounts for 5,676 “reviewed and outstanding” cases of enforced disappearances, while Nepal has 458, Timor-Leste has 428, India has 353, Indonesia has 162, Pakistan has 99, Thailand has 71, China has 30 and North Korea has 20. “This is just the tip of the iceberg because people are not reporting for fear of reprisals from authorities,” said Bacalso. A total of 43,250 cases of enforced disappearance in 88 countries were under active consideration by the United Nations as of 2014. In the Philippines, some 2,300 people remain missing since the 1970s when martial law was declared in the country. In the past five years, 26 people were reported to have gone missing in the Philippines, which is the first country in Asia to enact an anti-enforced disappearance law, although no perpetrator has been convicted under the law. http://bit.ly/1FPKgFw

Egyptian cleric allegedly abducted with his two brothers

The Cairo Post reports today that Cleric Anas Sultan, known for his participation in the 2011 revolution, has been missing since Tuesday along with his two brothers, according to rights lawyer Mohamed el-Baqer. “Sultan’s house in Nasr City was stormed Tuesday at dawn without a prosecution permit, and most of the house’s contents were damaged. He was taken with his two brothers; Osama and Islam, to an unknown location,” Baqer told The Cairo Post Wednesday, adding that the names of the detainees are not registered at local police stations. Months after the violent dispersal of the pro-Muslim Brotherhood sit-in at Rabaa al-Adaweya Square in Cairo, Sultan wrote on Facebook that he knew “the best people” at the sit-ins. He stopped political activism two years ago, Baqer said, and started “Sheikh el-Amood;” a center where he teaches Islamic sharia. http://bit.ly/1J4bQS2

Jokowi urged to push through investigations of past rights violations

The Jakarta Post reported on 27 May that human rights NGOs are urging President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo not to delay issuing a presidential decree on the establishment of an ad hoc human rights tribunal and a presidential instruction ordering the National Commission on Human Rights (Komnas HAM) and the Attorney General’s Office (AGO) to complete the preliminary investigation and investigation of gross human rights violations. They also urged Komnas HAM to fulfill its obligation to conduct a preliminary investigation into the rights violation cases, as mandated by law. “Komnas HAM must also immediately stop its participation and initiative to push forward the establishment of a reconciliation commission, which has the potential to provide impunity for perpetrators of gross human rights violations in Indonesia,” the NGOs were quoted by Antara news agency as saying in a joint statement in Jakarta on Wednesday. Signatories included the Commission for Missing Persons and Victims of Violence (Kontras), the Association of May 1998, the Murder Victims’ Research Foundation (YPKP 65), the Struggle for Rehabilitation of New Order Regime Victims Association (LPR-KROB) and the Association of Families of Talangsari Lampung Victims, the Union of the Tanjung Priok Victims’ Families (Ikkapri), the Families of 1997/1998 Forced Disappearance Victims, the Families of Semanggi II Victims and the Families of 1965/1966 Tragedies. http://bit.ly/1KAB3nw

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.