Daily World News Digest, 29 August 2016

Germany: steep rise in number of missing refugee children

DW reports today that Germany’s federal police say the number of missing refugee children has doubled since the start of 2016. Most of the children are aged between 14 and 17. Germany’s Federal Criminal Police Office (Bundeskriminalamt) has confirmed that by 1 July, 8,991 unaccompanied refugee children and young people had been reported missing. The figures, which were requested by the German daily “Neue Osnabrücker Zeitung,” showed that the number of migrants no longer in contact with authorities was already higher than for the whole of 2015. http://bit.ly/2bwD1XA

Italy rescues around 1,100 migrants in Mediterranean

Reuters reports today that around 1,100 migrants were rescued from boats in the Strait of Sicily on Sunday according to Italy’s coastguard. The migrants were picked up from eight rubber dinghies, one large boat and two punts through 11 rescue operations. Latest data from the International Organization for Migration, released on Friday, said some 105,342 migrants have reached Italy by boat this year, many of them setting sail from Libya. An estimated 2,726 men, women and children have died over the same period trying to make the journey, often dangerously packed into small vessels unsuitable for the voyage. http://reut.rs/2bSu1zN

Ukraine: New Research Corroborates Secret Detentions

Human Rights Watch reported on 28 August that new information has corroborated allegations of enforced disappearances and secret detention by Ukraine’s security services, HRW and Amnesty International said in a joint letter to Ukraine’s military prosecutor. The new information indicates that at least five victims of enforced disappearance remain in secret detention at Ukraine’s Security Service (SBU) in Kharkiv, one of the secret detention sites the groups documented in a 21 July 2016 joint report. http://bit.ly/2bZsHtk

UN experts raise alarm over short-term enforced disappearances

The UN Office in Geneva has carried a statement issued on 26 August by two UN expert groups on enforced disappearance, calling on states to prevent and eradicate enforced disappearance, including short-term enforced disappearances, and to ensure that relatives of persons deprived of their liberty are informed accurately and promptly of their detention. Speaking ahead of the International Day of the Victims of Enforced Disappearances, the Committee on Enforced Disappearances and the Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances also expressed their concern at allegations of intimidation and reprisals against victims of enforced disappearances and those who report their cases. “There is no time limit, no matter how short, for an enforced disappearance to occur. http://bit.ly/2bQitvI

Sri Lanka: Office on Missing Persons

The Island newspaper in Sri Lanka, marking International Day of the Disappeared, carries a long commentary on the recently enacted law establishing an Office on Missing Persons: “While the government has been equally commended and condemned for insistently passing the Office on Missing Persons Bill and signing it into law, it is also necessary to point out that the government has not done a commendable job in either making a strong case for, or providing effective answers to criticisms of, the new law. Instead, it has relied more on its numbers and procedural tactics in parliament than in the art of persuasion both inside and outside the legislature. http://bit.ly/2c2x0Dv

Call for China to end enforced disappearances

The organization, Chinese Human Rights Defenders, issued a statement today ahead of International Day of the Disappeared, noting that “since President Xi Jinping took power in 2013, Chinese authorities have stepped up the abusive practice of subjecting human rights lawyers and other rights defenders to enforced disappearance, often by leveraging draconian domestic laws. Such laws grant police unbridled power to hold detainees in secret locations for indefinite periods of time.” The CHRD urges the Chinese government to end the use of enforced disappearance and calls for “the release of all human rights lawyers and other rights advocates who have been detained incommunicado, and whose whereabouts remain unknown even after they have been granted ‘bail’ or sentenced to suspended prison time.” http://bit.ly/2cljIG8

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.