Daily World News Digest, 30 December 2016

After 20 years, Guatemala grapples with imperfect peace

Telesur released an article yesterday on the 20th anniversary of the end of the civil war in Guatemala. The conflict left at least 200,000 civilian victims, the report says, adding that, according to the UN Truth Commission, the Guatemalan military carried out over 600 massacres against unarmed communities — mostly rural indigenous Mayans — as part of a counterinsurgency strategy that resulted in genocide. It is estimated that 45,000 people were forcibly disappeared by State security forces during the 36-year conflict. Since then hundreds of bodies have been uncovered in mass graves across the country. http://bit.ly/2iJ2LHK

Israel opens database on missing children

The Times of Israel reported on 28 december that Israel’s Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, inaugurated an online database on Wednesday that gives the public full access to some 400,000 pages of declassified documents that the state hopes will help bring closure to the decades-long controversy known as the “Yemenite Children Affair.” Since the 1950s, over 1,000 families — mostly immigrants from Yemen, but also dozens from the Balkans, North Africa and other Middle Eastern countries — have alleged their children were systematically kidnapped from Israeli hospitals and put up for adoption, sometimes abroad. http://bit.ly/2hN2OOO

Boat with 100 people capsizes in Indonesia, dozens missing

Zee, an Indian news portal, published an article yesterday stating that a boat carrying nearly 100 people sank in the waters off North Maluku province in eastern Indonesia on Thursday. Rescuers recovered four bodies and were searching for missing persons, a local disaster management agency official said. Ten children were among the people on board, the official added. http://bit.ly/2ikcUaK

Ukraine calls on UN member states to increase pressure on Russia

The Kyiv Post reported yesterday that Ukraine’s Foreign Ministry has called on UN member states to take further steps to increase pressure on the Russian Federation “in connection with the country’s violation of key provisions of a number of declarations and conventions in the field of human rights, including the continuation of illegal detention, torture and repression against citizens of Ukraine”. Ukrainian diplomats say that the number of Ukrainians detained for political reasons in Russia, has increased, and that today there are at least 17 cases. The report also notes that at least 27 citizens of Ukraine are “illegally held or persecuted in Crimea occupied by Russia”. http://bit.ly/2hvvj2i

Finding the Human Stories in Europe’s Refugee Crisis

PBS, the US public broadcasting service, carried a story on 27 December on a new documentary film about the Mediterranean migration crisis, in which more than 1.3 million people have arrived in Europe after crossing the Mediterranean, while nearly 9,000 have died or gone missing along the way. The film’s director explains that one objective was to examine the root causes of the migration, which involved sensitive research in countries of sub-Saharan Africa. “Finding refugees is actually pretty simple once they’ve already become refugees. Finding refugees before they become refugees is much more tricky. In places like Eritrea and Gambia, people don’t advertise the fact that they’re going to leave. They do it in secrecy because it’s illegal to leave their countries. They don’t even tell their close family sometimes. They certainly don’t tell their neighbors. So finding those people is much harder.” http://to.pbs.org/2hvUCkS

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.