Daily World News Digest, 29 May 2015

Myanmar rejects sole blame for Southeast Asian migration crisis

The BBC reports today on discussion at an ASEAN conference in Bangkok to address the Southeast Asian migration crisis. Thousands of people have fled Bangladesh and Myanmar by boat, heading south to Thailand, Indonesia and Malaysia. The UN estimates about 2,600 migrants are still stranded out at sea. The crisis began earlier this year when Thailand cracked down on overland migrant routes, forcing people smugglers to use sea routes instead. Myanmar’s foreign ministry chief Htin Lynn said his country would co-operate in dealing with human trafficking, but he added that on “this issue of illegal migration of boat people, you cannot single out my country. Finger-pointing will not serve any purpose.” Thai Foreign Minister Tanasak Patimapragorn said “the root causes that motivated these people to leave must also be addressed.” Friday’s talks include representatives from 17 countries affected by “irregular migration in the Indian Ocean”. http://bbc.in/1LPmLN5

Cyprus leaders appeal for information on missing

The Cyprus Mail reported on 28 May that Greek and Turkish Cypriot leaders on Thursday issued a joint appeal for information on the fate of missing persons from both communities. “We call on everyone who might possess information on possible burial sites of missing persons, to share this information with the Committee on Missing Persons without hesitation. We guarantee that their confidentiality will be fully respected. We believe that this is a humanitarian duty that should be fulfilled,” the statement said. The missing persons issue is one of the most painful chapters in the history of Cyprus, the statement said. “Healing this open wound at the earliest is important in terms of easing the pain of the missing persons’ relatives.” President Nicos Anastasiades said it was the first time such a statement had been made. The two sides have reported 2,001 missing persons – 1,508 Greek Cypriots and 493 Turkish Cypriots. According to its website, the CMP has so far exhumed the remains of 962 people and has identified 579 – 439 Greek Cypriots and 140 Turkish Cypriots. http://bit.ly/1cmOWqu

Kashmir group says India is in denial over disappearances

Kashmir Life carried a statement on 28 May by the Association of Parents of Disappeared Persons, on the occasion of International Week of the Disappeared. “The Indian State has remained in denial of the ongoing international movement against enforced disappearances,” the statement read. “Following the commission of widespread and systematic enforced disappearances, the Indian State has chosen to protect itself and its own forces by disregarding the very existence of the crime itself. The number of fully documented cases today in Jammu and Kashmir stands at 1,519. According to conservative estimates, and extrapolating from existing documentation, more than 8,000 people have been subject to enforced disappearances in Jammu and Kashmir since 1989. There are 7000+ unmarked and mass graves in Jammu and Kashmir.” http://bit.ly/1HzRB9d

U.N. group on disappeared persons to visit Sri Lanka in August

The Hindu newspaper reported on 29 May that a delegation from the UN Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances will visit Sri Lanka from 3 to 12 August. Sri Lanka Foreign Ministry spokesperson Mahishini Colonne told reporters on Wednesday that the government and the UN group had been working together since the 1990s and it was in continuation of this relationship that an invitation was extended to the Working Group last year. http://bit.ly/1Btnf64

20-year struggle for justice in Galatasaray Square

The Bianet news portal in Turkey reported on 28 May that the Saturday Mothers/People group of relatives of the missing in Turkey have marked the 20th anniversary of the launch of their protest in Istanbul’s Galatasaray Square on 27 May 1995. Participants staged a sit-in around candles and photos of the missing and called on political parties and the general public to “help us to struggle with enforced disappearances and to find the offenders.” Other banners read, “Don’t forget. Only justice heals.” http://bit.ly/1HQR3RD

One missing person from Mexican town identified with DNA

The Spanish language news agenecy EFE reported on 28 May that DNA tests have confirmed one death among 16 people reported missing in the southern Mexican town of Chilapa. DNA tests were carried out on three bodies found a week ago on a dirt road, Mexican authorities said. The fatal victim was a 29-year-old man who was last seen outside his home on 30 March, the Guerrero state Attorney General’s Office said in a statement. The man’s father reported him missing on 18 May, and a few days later genetic samples were taken to be compared with decomposing bodies found wrapped in blankets on 21 May in the cemetery of the town of Nejapa. The DNA tests showed 99 percent compatibility with his parents, according to the state AG’s office, which since last week has been investigating the disappearance of 16 people in Chilapa. It said most of the individuals went missing between 9 and 14 May and that members of an organized crime group are behind the disappearances. http://bit.ly/1eCeFx5

Parents of Ayotzinapa 43 look to boycott vote

The Buenos Aires Herald reported on 28 May that parents of the 43 missing Mexican students from Ayotzinapa want to boycott the municipal and state elections in Guerrero on 7 June, according to a group of family members visiting Argentina as part of a latin American tour. “We must now boycott the elections in Guerrero, we must stop voting for narco-politicans in our country,” one member of the group said. “It is the only was we have of change things in our country were there are near 30,000 missing people.” Investigations have suggested that local politicians from Iguala ordered municipal police officers’ repression of students on the night of 26 September. The group spoke to students at the University of Buenos Aires on Tuesday evening, accompanied by co-founder of the Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo Nora Cortiñas. The first two rows of seats in the hall where the event was held were filled with photos of the 43 missing students. http://bit.ly/1JYuF8l

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.