Daily World News Digest, 3 March 2015

Cambodia: Report documents government’s ongoing failure to implement ICCPR

The International Federation of Human Rights Associations (FIDH) said in a statement issued on 3 March that the Cambodian government has failed to comply with its fundamental civil and political rights obligations. The UN Human Rights Committee will examine Cambodia’s second periodic report on implementation of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, at a session in Geneva on 17-18 March. Among other things, FIDH argues that the Cambodian government has frequently used provisions of the 2010 Criminal Code, such as defamation, insult, or incitement, to harass, threaten, and arbitrarily detain human rights defenders, activists, and opposition politicians. It says trafficking of men and women for labor, mostly to Thailand and Malaysia, also remains a serious issue of concern. http://bit.ly/1DMal5L

Australia: Press Laos to respect rights

Human Rights Watch issued a statement on 2 March calling on Australia to use its upcoming human rights dialogue with Laos to raise human rights concerns and set concrete benchmarks for reform. The dialogue, scheduled to be held in Canberra on 5 March, is a crucial opportunity to push the government of Laos to take real action on rights ahead of Laos chairing the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) in 2016, the statement said. Among other things, Human Rights Watch urged Australian officials to raise concerns with their Lao counterparts about the enforced disappearance of prominent civil society leader Sombath Somphone, who disappeared in Vientiane in December 2012. http://bit.ly/1B4P6LB

City studying new method of identifying remains

Capital News reported on 2 March that the New York City Medical Examiner’s Office (MEO) will study a new practice for identifying mass remains, which could be used in case of terrorist attack or natural disaster. The city plans to study the possibility of identifying human fragments through protein in muscle and bone, rather than DNA analysis—the method employed at the World Trade Center site. Of the 2,753 victims reported missing at the World Trade Center site, 40 percent, or 1,114 people, have yet to be identified. Protein can be a better, faster and cheaper source for identification, particularly if DNA is degraded, Ban MEO spokesperson said. http://bit.ly/1B4Nlhy

Parisians carry on shopping as mass graves are exhumed below their feet

The Guardian reported on 2 March that archaeologists are brushing away centuries of sand and dirt to reveal hundreds of skeletons in a series of mass graves in Paris. Under the Monoprix store on Boulevard Sebastopol the remains of at least 200 people have been uncovered, and experts believe there may be more, victims of a sudden and devastating disease or catastrophe in the Middle Ages. The discovery was made when the store applied to convert part of its cellar for extra storage space. http://bit.ly/1BBKEpz

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.