Daily World News Digest, 3 November 2016

Amnesty International: EU policy leading to abuse of migrants

The Guardian reports today on research published by Amnesty International describing how European migration policies have led to the alleged torture, abuse and illegal deportation of asylum seekers arriving by boat in Italy, according to dozens of migrant testimonies published for the first time. Forty Sudanese migrants were also illegally deported to Sudan without recourse to proper asylum procedures, and at least one of them – a refugee from Darfur – was beaten by officials on his return, interviewees said. The alleged abuse is the natural outcome of the EU’s new migration strategy, according to Amnesty International, which conducted the research. The implementation of the EU “hotspot” system, which forces all migrants to be fingerprinted on arrival in Italy, and the failure of the EU’s relocation scheme, which has meant more refugees are housed in Italy and Greece than most EU members, has stretched Italian resources and created a dynamic that encourages abuse, Amnesty said. The vast majority of incoming migrants appear to have been treated in a humane manner by Italian police. The Italian navy and coastguard also play an instrumental role in the rescue of hundreds of thousands of stricken asylum seekers in the southern Mediterranean. But the testimonies released on Thursday reveal that several officials, under pressure to fingerprint uncooperative asylum seekers, and to stem migration numbers, have abused people and returned them to dangerous situations without allowing them to apply for asylum. http://bit.ly/2feFTvh

More bodies of migrants found in South Texas

KRGV, a US television station, reports today that people working in the South Texas outback have said the number of bodies found in 2016 already surpasses the count from 2015. Officials reported that the number of bodies found in Brooks County has risen by six from all of last year. Eddie Canales with the South Texas Human Rights Center has organized a touching display of 54 white crosses in front of the Brooks County courthouse, each representing a body or skeletal remains found somewhere in the outback. Some include a name and country of origin, but others remain unknown. Canales said each person died trying to walk around the US Border Patrol checkpoint south of Falfurrias. “It doesn’t really truly reflect the number of deaths that have occurred because there are a lot of bodies that are still out there, scattered all over South Texas,” Canales said. http://bit.ly/2eCnM1m

Bosnia and Herzegovina: former Karadzic adviser charged

Balkan Insight carried an article yesterday on Jovan Tintor, a high-ranking wartime politician and former adviser to Radovan Karadzic who has been charged with committing crimes against humanity in 1992. The Bosnian state prosecution filed an indictment against Tintor on Wednesday, charging him with crimes in the Vogosca area, near Sarajevo, in the spring and summer of 1992. Tintor is accused of persecution, unlawful detention, torture, beating, forcing people to do hard labor and the murder of several Bosniaks and Croats at several different locations, as well as in detention camps and other detention facilities in Vogosca and the surrounding area. The prosecution further alleges that, as a consequence of the crimes listed in the indictment, almost the entire Bosniak and Croat population had been deported from the Vogosca area and its surroundings by the end of 1992. http://bit.ly/2fauXB4

Typhoon Yolanda victims remembered at mass grave

The Manila Bulletin published an article yesterday about hundreds of Typhoon Yolanda survivors who visited unnamed graves in a village near the town of Palo in Leyte Province, where many victims of the storm that struck three years ago are buried. A mass grave site is in front of the San Joaquin Parish Church and along a major road. It is the final resting place of 378 San Joaquin residents and some unknown casualties of the tragedy. A nongovernment organization converted the place into a flower garden and engraved the victims’ names in a granite block near the garden’s gate. http://bit.ly/2fGGVmG

No grave, no justice for Philippines martial law victims

The Manila Times published a report yesterday about relatives of desaparecidos, victims of enforced disappearances during martial law imposed by then-President Ferdinand Marcos in 1972. Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman, whose brother Hermon is presumed to be a desaparecido, said at an All Souls’ Day ceremony on Wednesday in Quezon City, that the Lagman family could not even light a candle in Hermon’s memory because they have no idea where the remains of his brother are. The Anti-Enforced Disappearance Law classifies enforced disappearance as a separate crime from murder, kidnapping, arson and physical injuries and condemns the human rights violations during Marcos’ rule, which lasted until early 1986. The Marcos compensation law provides financial and non-financial remuneration for around 75,000 human rights victims during military rule. It is the only Philippine legislation that deems the Marcoses liable for martial law crimes. http://bit.ly/2fkaTsq

Search resumes for 44 missing from Indonesia boat sinking

The Daily Times reported yesterday that Indonesian rescue authorities on Thursday resumed a search for more than 40 people missing from the sinking of an overcrowded speedboat a day earlier. The search effort, which was suspended after nightfall Wednesday, started again at daylight with some 280 personnel involved, said Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, head of the country’s disaster mitigation agency. Eighteen bodies have been identified and 39 people were rescued, according to the agency. There were 101 people on the boat, and 44 are still missing, Sutopo said. Speedboats and ferries are a common form of transport in Indonesia, a sprawling archipelago. Sinkings are common due to poorly enforced safety regulations. One of the worst ferry sinkings in recent years occurred off Sulawesi island in 2009, killing more than 330 people. http://bit.ly/2fkdEKl

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.