Daily World News Digest, 30 July 2015

Eight family members decapitated in north Mexico

The Sun Daily, Malaysian daily newspaper, reports today that eight people from the same family, including two minors, were kidnapped by masked gunmen and their decapitated bodies were found days later in northern Mexico, as authorities said on Wednesday. The bodies were found after a ninth member of the Martinez family escaped Sunday’s abduction near Casa Quemada, in the state of Chihuahua, and alerted the authorities, prosecutors said. The disappearance triggered a massive military operation in the region and the bodies were found this week. They were all men, with the youngest aged 15 and the oldest 42. The state of Chihuahua has endured much of the gruesome violence that has plagued Mexico in a drug war that has left tens of thousands of people dead nationwide since 2006, when soldiers were deployed to combat cartels. http://bit.ly/1LSuc8B

Conference seeks solution to North Korean abductions

The North Korea news portal carried a story today saying that international activists and experts on abduction gathered at the British Embassy in Seoul on Wednesday to discuss how their experiences with the topic may apply to North Korea. After the Korean War, it is believed that more than 3,000 South Koreans were kidnapped and taken to North Korea, and 516 remain there. Also, from 1959 to 1984, 90,000 ethnic Koreans in Japan were repatriated to North Korea without being informed of the environment they were heading for. “The Republic of Korea provided families of the abductees with no recourse, instead characterizing them as potential spies and ostracizing them from society,” said Michele Park Sonen from the Citizens’ Alliance for North Korean Human Rights. http://bit.ly/1SjhmFD

Australian police get new forensic technology to help identify missing persons

The Global Post, online US news company, reported on 29 July that Australia’s police will soon have access to new technology which could link long-term missing people to more than 500 unidentified cases of human remains. Announced by Federal Justice Minister Michael Keenan on Wednesday, the program will allow forensic officers to “fast-track ” identifications in both new and old cases. Australia’s national police information agency, CrimTrac, created the National Missing Person and Victim System (NMPVS) which is expected to assist police solve hundreds of cold cases. More than 30,000 people are reported missing each year in Australia. http://bit.ly/1LSuLiy

Life for the women rescued from Boko Haram

Human Rights Watch carried a story on 29 July saying that Nigerian forces have been implicated in grave violations of human rights, including incommunicado detentions, extrajudicial killings, and enforced disappearances. The Nigerian police have also been implicated in several highly publicized extrajudicial killings of Boko Haram members or suspects. The Boko Haram hallmark is brutal violence: suicide bombings, mass murder, forced conscription of young men and boys, and the destruction of villages, towns, churches, markets, and schools. But Boko Haram is  best known for its widespread abduction of women and girls—an estimated 2,000 since 2009. http://bit.ly/1DcuchW

Why Gambia is not ideal to host Africa’s human rights “watchdog”

The Somaliland Press reported on 29 July that the Gambia is a country with a domestic record of grave violations. President Jammeh is considered to be responsible for gross and systemic human rights violations across the country of less than two million people. Torture, enforced disappearances, repression of dissent, extra-judicial killings, and systemic violations of economic and social rights are rife. Repression of dissent, of civil society actors, and of journalists and the media means that information about human rights abuses is not easily obtained. It is surprising that the African Commission of Human and people’s Rights continues to be located in the country’s capital Banjul, says the Somaliland Press. http://bit.ly/1MVLK2e

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.