Daily World News Digest, 28 November 2016

Mass graves of Yazidi victims found near Mosul

Reuters reported yesterday that two mass graves of at least 18 members of Iraq’s Yazidi minority, thousands of whom have been killed and kidnapped by so-called Islamic State, have been discovered as security forces fight to dislodge the militants from Mosul. Kurdish Peshmerga forces found the grave, which contained bones and identity cards that appeared to have been covered over with sandy earth by a bulldozer, the report says. Islamic State systematically killed, captured and enslaved thousands of Yazidis in the summer of 2014 as they overran the Sinjar area, where many of them lived. UN investigators have said that this constitutes genocide. http://reut.rs/2gmO4G7

Pakistani government urged to ascertain whereabouts of Wahid Baloch

The International News carried an article on 26 November noting that a large number of social, human rights and literary activists have expressed concern over the alleged enforced disappearance of literary activist and publisher Abdul Wahid Baloch’s on 26 July. He has not been formally arrested or charged with any offence. Zohra Yusuf and Asad Iqbal Butt of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP), Sheema Kermani, a cultural and social activist, and Hani Baloch, daughter of the detained activist, spoke at a press conference at the Karachi Press Club on Friday and demanded that the authorities make Baloch’s whereabouts known to his family. On 26 July, he was abducted by unidentified men from a passenger bus in Karachi. http://bit.ly/2gfq6MG

Indian court orders release of prominent Kashmiri human rights activist

The Daily Mail reported on 25 November that a court in Indian-administered Kashmir on Friday ordered police to release a prominent Kashmiri human rights activist arrested two months ago on charges of involvement in activities against the public order, saying authorities had no evidence. Khurram Parvez, 39, coordinator of the Jammu Kashmir Coalition of Civil Society (JKCCS) has long campaigned against human rights violations committed by state forces in Jammu and Kashmir. His arrest in September was condemned by human rights groups, as well as the United Nations, which said Parvez’s detention was a deliberate attempt by Indian authorities to obstruct his work. The Jammu and Kashmir High Court quashed the detention order against Parvez saying police had exploited their position and did not have enough evidence to detain the activist. http://dailym.ai/2fHuO7P

Bangladesh’s stance on Rohingya refugees

The Daily Star, a newspaper from Bangladesh, published a report on 26 November about the Rohingya people in Myanmar, who it reports may be in the “final stages of genocide”. Gross human rights violations – death squads, enforced hunger, forced labor, rape, torture, denial of basic healthcare, education, freedom of movement and basic citizenship rights define their existence, the report says. Bangladesh’s response to the situation in Burma has been to close down its borders. In addition, since 2012 an ad hoc policy framework has been pursued. This includes, intercepting and pushing back boats carrying the Rohingya; banning NGOs providing emergency assistance to Rohingyas; enforcing a five-year jail term for “illegal foreigners”; and banning marriage between Rohingyas and Bangladeshis, it says. http://bit.ly/2fVDR2C

Amnesty International denounces Human Rights violation in UAE

Amnesty International published an article on 25 November on what it described as human rights violations hidden by glamorous international sporting events. Ahead of the season finale of the Formula 1 Grand Prix in Abu Dhabi, Amnesty International’s Middle East Deputy Director of Campaigns, Samah Hadid, said: “This weekend, as sports fans around the world turn their eyes to Abu Dhabi, the capital of the UAE . . . the country’s appalling human rights record continues to escape scrutiny. Do spectators know that behind the glamorous façade, people are being arrested and tortured for voicing criticism of the government? Or that enforced disappearances go unchecked, with families often going months without knowledge of their loved ones’ whereabouts? Or that over 60 political prisoners remain behind bars following unfair trials? The show of fast cars and celebrities is nothing more than a distraction from an ongoing human rights crisis”. http://bit.ly/2fHpLnS

Relatives wait for news after gruesome grave find in Mexico

Mexico News Daily carried a story on 26 November on the experience of relatives of missing persons waiting in Guerrero state to find out if their family members’ remains are buried in mass graves there. Investigators exhumed the remains of 31 men and one woman this week, along with nine severed heads found inside a cooler, from 20 pits located on a hillside in the municipality of Zitlala. The remains were sent to the state capital of Chilpancingo to be identified and matched with information from missing persons DNA databases. At least two of the bodies have been tentatively identified as persons who disappeared two years ago from the town of Chilapa, which is just 12 kilometers away from Zitlala. Relatives are awaiting results of more extensive studies to confirm that the corpses are those of their loved ones. Others hoping to find missing relatives arrived yesterday at a forensic office in Chilpancingo, wondering if any of the 30 remaining bodies are those of family members. http://bit.ly/2gxj74Y

Croatia Exhumes 18 Serb Casualties of Operation Storm

Balkan Insight reported on 25 November that the exhumation of the remains of 18 Operation Storm casualties from a local cemetery in Zadar was completed on Thursday, according to the Serbian government’s missing persons commission. The exhumation of the remains of Croatian Serbs who died during and immediately after the Croatian military operation Storm in August 1995 had started on Monday. “This exhumation process is of particular importance for the families of missing persons, who for years have been trying to find and decently bury the remains of their loved ones,” the Serbian missing persons commission said in a statement. http://bit.ly/2fvqAwM

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.