Daily World News Digest, 29 January 2016

Dispute over official figures from “Dirty War” draws ire in Argentina

El País carried a story on 28 January saying that one the latest controversies in Argentina is the exact number of victims who actually disappeared during the military’s so-called “Dirty War.” “In Argentina, 30,000 people didn’t go missing. That figure was negotiated on a bargaining table,” said Dario Lopérfido, a close aide to Macri – the new conservative President. Lopérfido said that the figure is closer to 9,000. Estela de Carlotto, one of the directors of the Grandmothers of the Plaza de Mayo said she is upset by all the questioning. “We are still receiving complaints about grandchildren who were born in captivity because more people are willing to come forward and tell the truth”, she said. http://bit.ly/1WR85Db

24 die after Iraqi Kurdish refugees’ boat sinks off Greek Island

The New York Times reported on 28 January that at least 24 people drowned and 11 others were missing after a boat carrying Iraqi Kurds sank off the Greek island of Samos in the Aegean Sea, close to the Turkish coast. The Italian Navy also rescued 290 migrants on Thursday and recovered six bodies from the water near a half-sunken rubber boat off Libya, en route to Italy. Kelly Namia, an Athens-based representative of the IOM, confirmed the wooden vessel was carrying 65 people when it sank on Wednesday night, even though it had a maximum capacity of 30. The passengers were all Iraqi Kurds, aside from the smugglers, who were believed to be Afghans. http://nyti.ms/1PVd4h3

Burundi: Satellite evidence supports witness accounts of mass graves

Amnesty International issued a news on 28 January saying that compelling new satellite images, video footage and witness accounts strongly indicate that dozens of people killed by Burundian security forces in December were later buried in mass graves.  Before and after images and video footage clearly show five possible mass graves in the Buringa area, on the outskirts of Bujumbura. The imagery, dating from late December and early January, shows disturbed earth consistent with witness accounts. Witnesses told that the graves were dug on the afternoon of 11 December and that the police scoured Nyakabiga and other neighborhoods to retrieve the bodies of those who were killed and took them to undisclosed locations. http://bit.ly/1Keufxg

Largest exhumation project of all times in Vietnam

Open PR issued a press release on 28 January saying that the Hamburg laboratory Bioglobe has developed a concept for genetic identification of hundreds of thousands of victims of the Vietnam War for the government of Vietnam. In the largest identification project of all times Hanoi intends to recover the victims of the Vietnam War from mass graves, genetically identify and hand the victims over to their families. The so-called “Project 150” was initiated by Premier Nguyen Tan Dung as the largest identification project of all times and involves several Vietnamese ministries as well as the internationally renowned International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP). http://bit.ly/1PXsAJc

Canada’s missing: Thousands of lost or murdered indigenous women

Al Jazeera America carried a story on 28 January about cases of six missing indigenous women in Canada. Osborne-Tyo, a 21-year-old mother went missing in 2008 after she left a voice message to her sisters saying that she was in danger. Osborne-Tyo is one of an estimated 1,181 indigenous women who are missing and were likely murdered in Canada. Three other women in Osborne-Tyo’s family went missing there as well. For decades, activists called on police and the government for help. The new liberal government, finally decided to investigate the cases. The UN called Canada’s treatment of indigenous women “a grave violation” of human rights in a report released in March 2015. http://bit.ly/1WPBwFV

Sri Lanka’s missing thousands: one woman’s six-year fight to find her husband

The Guardian carried a story today saying that when journalist Prageeth Eknaligoda went missing, police told wife Sandhya ‘getting abducted was fashionable’ and he would soon return. More than 90 court appearances and a change in government later, she is still searching. The Eknaligoda case is one among tens of thousands of missing persons cases that the new government of Maithripala Sirisena has pledged to resolve. In search for her husband, Sandhya has gone – from court hearings in Colombo to sessions of the UN human rights council in Geneva. Investigations into her husband’s abduction have made progress since President Sirisena took the office. Despite some progress on this case, there has been zero progress on tens of thousands of others. http://bit.ly/1NEvroI

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.