Daily World News Digest, 30 August 2016

IS buried thousands in 72 mass graves

AP reports today on mass graves it has documented and mapped in Syria and Iraq, “the most comprehensive survey so far, with many more expected to be uncovered as the Islamic State group’s territory shrinks.” In Syria, AP has obtained locations for 17 mass graves, “including one with the bodies of hundreds of members of a single tribe all but exterminated when IS extremists took over their region”. For at least 16 of the Iraqi graves, most in territory too dangerous to excavate, officials do not even guess the number of dead. “Even the known victims buried are staggering — from 5,200 to more than 15,000,” the report says. http://apne.ws/2bFe65I

Thousands of migrants rescued off Libya

The BBC reports today that about 6,500 migrants have been rescued off Libya, according to the Italian, in one of the biggest operations of its kind to date. Some 40 coordinated rescue missions have taken place about 20km off the Libyan town of Sabratha. Video footage shows migrants, said to be from Eritrea and Somalia, cheering and some swimming to rescue vessels, while others carried babies aboard. On Sunday more than 1,100 migrants were rescued in the same area. http://bbc.in/2c5svIi

Disappearance and torture in Thailand “must end now”

The Nation reports today that legislation to define asnd penalize enforced or involuntary disappearance will be an important legal tool to end “the government’s bad practices and bring justice to victim’s family”, according to the National Human Rights Commission. On 29 August, ahead of the International Day of the Disappeared, the NHRC held an academic forum to discuss enforced disappearances and torture in official custody in Thailand. The conference caled for an end to all kinds of enforced disappearance, including temporary detention that does not disclose the location and duration to the victims and their families. http://bit.ly/2bWwaul

Human rights defenders’ work is vital for redress to victims of enforced disappearance

The Council of Europe issued a statement on 29 August recalling that that cases of missing persons and enforced disappearances where the victims remain unaccounted for “are not an issue of the past, irrespective of when they occurred.” The CoE noted that in many countries “relatives are compelled to declare the death of missing or disappeared persons whose fate is not yet clarified in order to enjoy their rights, such as those related to inheritance and social welfare.” http://bit.ly/2bxKdpf

Enforced disappearance of journalists

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) on 29 August called on Asia-Pacific governments incriminated by enforced disappearances of media workers to take active steps to investigate critical cases and tackle impunity around missing media workers in the region. Noting that “enforced disappearances are aimed to spread terror and fear,” the IFC cited 11 cases, which, it said “are indicative of the endemic impunity problem for attacks against journalists in the Asia-Pacific. The lack of progress in the cases only increases the suffering and loss; and serves to stifle press freedom in communities and societies more broadly.” http://bit.ly/2byoOZW

Zimbabwe: end practice of enforced disappearance

Bulawayo24hour News today carries a statement from the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) organization saying that a culture of enforced disappearance “remains rampant in the country, more than 36 years into independent Zimbabwe”. ZLHR called on Zimbabweans “to collectively reflect and come together to condemn a practice that has been described as the ‘mother of all gross human rights violations’.” It said the pattern of enforced disapearances in Zimbabwe suggested “acquiescence and direct participation of State actors.” http://bit.ly/2bBbBQl

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.