Daily World News Digest, 30 January 2017

Missing Pakistani activists return home

Arab News reported yesterday that five Pakistani bloggers and rights activists missing since the first week of January returned home early on Saturday “as mysteriously as they disappeared”. Families of the bloggers confirmed that all of them are safe. They declined to comment further. Human Rights Watch and other rights groups said their near simultaneous disappearances raised concerns of government involvement, which officials and intelligence sources have denied. Pakistan has had a history of enforced disappearances over the past decade, but this has mainly been confined to conflict zones near the Afghanistan border or to Balochistan province. http://bit.ly/2kKpWP4

Mass grave containing remains of 27 Turkmen found near Mosul

Iraqi News reported yesterday that Iraqi troops have found a mass grave containing the remains of 27 Iraqi Turkmen in northern Mosul. “The bodies have traces of torture, and the majority of them have ID cards,” an army spokesperson said. http://bit.ly/2jMrYhu

Iraq: “children illegally detained”

The Guardian reported yesterday that children detained by Iraq’s Kurdistan regional government on suspicion of connections to Islamic State said that they were tortured, according to a report from an international human rights group. More than 180 boys under the age of 18 are being held, Human Rights Watch estimates, and government officials have not informed their families where they are, increasing the likelihood of the children being disappeared, HRW says. Rights groups warn that such practices risk sowing resentment against Iraqi security forces in the wake of military victories against ISIS. “Policies like torture, enforced disappearances, destruction of property and displacement are and will continue to [be] drivers for victims’ families to join extremist groups,” said Belkis Wille, the senior Iraq researcher for HRW. http://bit.ly/2kESoTb

Sri Lanka: families of the missing fight for justice

The Sunday Reader, a Sri-Lankan online newspaper, reports today on a series of workshops and discussions organized by Amnesty International for relatives of the missing in Sri Lanka. Valeria Barbuto, Director at Memoria Abierta in Argentina, who attended the event in Colombo told The Sunday Leader that the government must acknowledge that enforced disappearances is a crime. She said the families of the missing are all calling for justice and want the issue to be kept in the spotlight. http://bit.ly/2jhVzmG

Croatia and Serbia – missing persons an “open issue”

Total Croatia News published an article yesterday on the issues of war crimes, missing persons, and genocide lawsuits, which continue to be the “cause of heated debate” between Croatia and Serbia. Today, there are around 1,600 persons missing as a result of the conflict in the 1990s, and many of the perpetrators have yet to be punished. http://bit.ly/2kinnao

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.