Daily World News Digest, 30 December 2015

No respite for rescuers as 4,000 refugees stranded at sea over Christmas

Sputnik International news portal carried a story on 29 December saying that the year 2015 has been described as “exceptional” by the Italian coastguard after more than 4,000 refugees and migrants had to be rescued during the festive period. It had been predicted that the number of refugees attempting to cross sea waters would drop as weather conditions deteriorated, yet five times as many migrants have arrived in Europe this year than in 2014. Nearly a million people have arrived this year — more than 3,600 have died trying. In 2014 many governments decided to abandon search and rescue operations, but this did not prevent the refugees from trying to reach Europe. http://bit.ly/1YSpYkz

Baloch insurgents use social media to highlight violent abuses by Pakistani security forces

CNN Indian Broadcasting Network reported on 29 December that insurgents are using social networks to present a narrative of violent abuses by security forces in Pakistan’s restive Balochistan province. International rights groups have for years said that Pakistan’s security forces have committed abuses, accusing them of picking up non-militant separatists – including academics and students – torturing them and dumping their bodies on the streets in the western province. Thousands of people have simply vanished, according to Voice of Baloch Missing Persons (VBMP). Social media is therefore one of the only mediums that insurgents have of getting their own narrative out. Traditional media tell only the security forces’ story. http://bit.ly/1mpcPDi

Pre-emptive arrest campaign of Muslim Brotherhood members in Egypt

Middle East Monitor carried a story on 29 December saying that Egyptian security services carried out pre-emptive arrest campaigns against Muslim Brotherhood members across Egypt, security and human rights sources said. Before the arrest campaigns, the Muslim Brotherhood, along with other anti-military coup activists, had been planning for a week of action to mark the fifth anniversary of the January 25 Revolution. Human rights activist Mohamed al-Baker said that he recorded cases of freed prisoners, enforced disappearances, people whose houses were raided and inquiries by security agents about certain youths. http://bit.ly/1ID6Yor

Government urged to act on Canadian kids abducted to Iraq

Ottawa Citizen, a daily from Canada, reported on 29 December that as many as 15,000 letters are on their way to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his ministers as supporters of the family of four Canadian children abducted and taken to Iraq press the government to help in their safe return. In August, the RCMP issued an arrest warrant for Saren Azer on charges of abduction, after he failed to return to Canada with his children. After searching for several months, the children’s mother, Alison Azer of British Columbia, located the kids in Kurdish-controlled northern Iraq. Letter-writers from across the country are now asking the Liberal government to aid in their return. http://bit.ly/1YSjvpU

Buhari vows to find missing Chibok girls

Vanguard, a news portal from Nigeria, reported on 29 December that President Muhammadu Buhari, Tuesday, said his administration would do everything within its power to ensure the safe return of the over 200 missing Chibok ‎girls. The girls were in April 2014, abducted from the Federal Government Secondary school, Chibok, Borno State, by members of the Boko Haram terrorist sect. The Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr. Abubakar Malami said: “It is tragic for a nation to have a budget meant for arms procurement for the protection of lives and property of the citizens, and end up not having adequate provisions for the protection of lives of its citizens.’’ http://bit.ly/1mQnIP8

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.