Daily World News Digest, 29 June 2016

Two Decades of Accounting for the Missing

Vecernjilist.ba, a daily newspaper from Bosnia and Herzegovina, carries an op-ed today by ICMP Director-General Kathryne Bomberger marking ICMP’s 20th anniversary. Bomberger writes that “after a conflict, when large numbers of people cannot be accounted for, the rule of law is challenged in a fundamental way. Citizens rightly question the credibility of authorities that cannot or will not establish what happened to thousands of their fellow citizens and who cannot or will not take steps to bring those responsible for disappearances to justice. Finding the missing is about helping survivors, but it is also about upholding the rule of law; it is about ensuring that those who were responsible are brought to justice. It is about preventing any attempt to cover up the crime or to deny that it happened.” Op-eds by Kathryne Bomberger also appeared in newspapers throughout the Western Balkans today. To read these articles in English please visit: http://bit.ly/29nXSfC

Sri Lanka’s Brexit hour still to come

The Island a daily from the Sri Lanka, reported on 27 June that the Sri Lankan government goes into the current session of the UN Human Rights Council with several accomplishments to show. Itsaid these are “primarily at the level of change of spirit and less as concrete changes that can be quantified”. It is difficult to quantify the impact of the lifting of fear of agents of the state and their associates acting with impunity, of white vans into which people disappear and the attitude of confrontation, it said. http://bit.ly/293GwWa

Mothers of “desaparecidos” in the Philippines continue to seek justice

Rappler, a Philippines news portal, reported on 27 June on the struggle of mothers of the disappeared in the Philippines. It describes the experience of Concepcion Empeño, whose daughter Karen disappeared. A 66-year-old retired school principal, Concepcion contemplated, “I was passive back then. I was insensitive. I knew what was happening, but I didn’t care. But when Karen disappeared, I internalized the things that she was fighting for, that she was fighting for the Filipinos especially those who are poor.” Throughout the years, the mother of Karen has gone to various countries in Europe, such as France, United Kingdom and The Netherlands, through the help of Amnesty International, an international human rights organization, to talk about Karen’s disappearance and to seek the help of the United Nations. http://bit.ly/293iUSy

Letter to Thailand Prime Minister on UN Security Council Candidacy

Human Rights Watch sent an open letter to Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-ocha on the 27 June noting that Thailand is currently seeking a non-permanent seat on the United Nations Security Council for 2017-2018, which will be decided in an election during the UN General Assembly session on June 28, 2016. The pledges that Thailand has made in support of its candidacy give priority to safeguarding human rights and humanitarian principles around the world. However, HRW notes among other things that “Since the May 2014 coup, military authorities have summoned at least 1,340 activists, party supporters, journalists, and human rights defenders for questioning and “adjusting” their political attitude. Failure to abide by an NCPO summons is a criminal offense subject to trial in military courts. Under NCPO orders 3/2015 and 13/2016, the military can secretly detain people without charge or trial and interrogate them without access to lawyers or safeguards against mistreatment. Some have been held longer than the seven-day limit for administrative detention.” http://bit.ly/29emqZV

HRCP demands steps to curb torture

DAWN.com from Pakistan reported on 28 June that the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) organized rallies and demonstrations in several towns in Sindh province on 27 June to mark International Day in Support of Victims of Torture. The paper reports that 4,612 people have lost their lives in the incidents of violence in Pakistan over the last 12 months. According to the HRCP, 2,108 men and seven women were killed in police encounters. http://bit.ly/2927XCm

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.