Daily World News Digest, 3 July 2015

Congo-Brazzaville: Mass deportations

Amnesty International issued a statement on 2 July arguing that police violence, persecution, arbitrary detentions and rape amid a security operation to deport tens of thousands of DR Congo nationals from Congo-Brazzaville last year were part of widespread attacks that could amount to crimes against humanity. “Operation Mbata ya Bakolo: mass expulsions of foreign nationals in the Republic of Congo” documents a range of human rights violations and crimes under international law committed by Congolese security forces and others from April to September last year. During this period, at least 179,000 DRC nationals, including many refugees and asylum seekers, were rounded up, arbitrarily arrested, and forced to leave Republic of Congo (Congo-Brazzaville), Amnesty said. http://bit.ly/1HxNRJj

Call for action on missing persons in Kashmir

Pakistan Observer reports today that human rights group, “Voice of Victims” has asked India to disclose the whereabouts of disappeared persons, implement the recommendations of the Universal Periodic Review-2 (UPR2) and ratify human rights regulations to protect people from enforced disappearances. VoV Executive Director Abdul Qadeer in a statement in Srinagar said that the relatives of victims of forced disappearance while in official custody during the 1990s had been waiting for decades for an explanation of the fate of their family members. “Families of disappeared persons are suffering due to endless wait for their loved ones and they experience immense pain over the disappearance of their relatives,” he said. http://bit.ly/1IxQv2B

Srebrenica 20 years on

The Guardian reports today on the commemoration of the Srebrenica genocide 20 years ago next week. Commemorations around the world will include a memorial service in Westminster Abbey on Monday, and dignitaries will gather at the huge graveyard near the old UN base in Potocari near Srebrenica on 11 July. By the reckoning of Amor Masovic, director of the Bosnia and Herzegovina Missing Persons Institute, the remains of 7,100 of the dead have been found out of total of 8,372 missing. The International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP), which is helping with the DNA identification work, has similar figures. http://bit.ly/1dBaKPO

UN “shares blame for Srebrenica genocide”

Balkan Insight reported on 2 July that at a UN General Assembly event to commemorate the 1995 massacres of Bosniaks, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said the UN shared the blame because it did not prevent genocide being committed. Ban Ki-moon paid tribute to the victims of the Srebrenica genocide at the General Assembly in New York on Wednesday and acknowledged that the UN had failed in its mission to protect them from being killed in July 1995. “The UN Secretariat, the Security Council and member states share the blame” for the massacres of more than 7,000 Bosniaks after Bosnian Serb forces seized what was supposed to be a UN-protected “safe zone”, he said. The UN secretary-general also recalled how his visit to Srebrenica in 2012 affected him emotionally: “I will always remember the tears and pain of the mothers and loved ones of those who were killed because of who they were,” he said. http://bit.ly/1JBJWgY

Syria: deliberate killing of civilians by Islamic State

Human Rights Watch carried a story today saying that armed militants believed to be members of Islamic State deliberately targeted people they knew were civilians in a 25 June 2015 attack in and around the northern Syrian city of Kobani. Syrian Kurdish authorities and local human rights groups said that 233 to 262 civilians were killed and at least 273 wounded. Witnesses and local human rights groups provided detailed accounts of the attackers detaining civilians in at least four buildings in and near Kobani. The Rojava Human Rights Organization said the armed militants held 30 to 40 people inside the former school building near Mishta Nur Mountain. While the armed militants in some cases spared the youngest and oldest civilians, witnesses and human rights defenders said its gunmen nevertheless killed at least 14 civilians under 18. http://bit.ly/1NB1eso

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.