Daily World News Digest, 30 March 2015

Germanwings crash: DNA of 78 victims found

The BBC reported on 29 March that five days after Germanwings flight 4U 9525 crashed in the French Alps killing all 150 on board, investigators say they have isolated DNA of 78 victims. Recovery teams have so far only reached the mountainside on foot or by helicopter to continue the search for human remains as well as parts of the aircraft, including the flight data recorder which is still missing. Marseille prosecutor Brice Robin said work on an access road which would give all-terrain vehicles access to the area could be completed by Monday evening. http://bbc.in/1MkKOrM

Hundreds of hidden human trafficking victims in Scotland, says minister

STV News reports today that there could be around 1,000 hidden victims of human trafficking in Scotland, according to the Justice Secretary. Official figures show that there were 55 people across Scotland identified as trafficking victims. However Michael Matheson says this may be the “tip of the iceberg” and claims the true figure could be around 1,000 cases. The UK Home Office has indicated that there could be between 10,000 and 13,000 people within the UK who are the subject of human trafficking and exploitation. The Scottish Government’s Human Trafficking and Exploitation Bill would create a specific offence of human trafficking for the first time as well as increase the maximum penalty for offenders to life imprisonment. The Bill would give police the power to confiscate vehicles, ships or aircraft owned or in the possession of people arrested on suspicion of trafficking. http://bit.ly/1yrDQWr

Hague Tribunal orders war crimes indictee back to prison

Balkan Insight reports today that the appeals chamber of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia ruled on Monday that war crimes defendant Vojislav Seselj, who was temporarily released last year for cancer treatment, must go back into detention. It said that Seselj’s statements since his return to Belgrade in November, insisting that he would not return to the UN-backed court for the verdict in his war crimes trial, “eroded he essential pre-conditions for provisional release.” Seselj has been in custody since 2003, when he voluntarily surrendered. He is on trial for wartime crimes in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia and Serbia. http://bit.ly/1CoVKNw

People rage at forced disappearances in Jammu & Kashmir

Press TV reported on 29 March that activists in Indian-controlled Kashmir are demanding an independent probe into missing persons cases. The Association of Parents of Disappeared Persons (APDP) has asked the state government to investigate more than 8,000 cases of enforced disappearance and over 7,000 unmarked mass graves. “We demand an independent commission be constituted to carry out DNA profiling, forensic examinations, identify accused persons responsible, and devise a framework for reparations,” said Tahira Begum of the APDP. “We have also urged the chief minister to do what other countries have done,” said human rights lawyer, Parvez Imroz, adding, “Where disappearances are a phenomenon, like Sri Lanka, the Philippines, Indonesia, and Nepal, and even in Pakistan, the governments have at least held an investigation. They have allowed a special rapporteur on enforced disappearances to visit their countries, but the government of India has not.” http://bit.ly/1ETwi0P

Mexican protest caravan in Minneapolis

The Herald Recorder, from the state of Texas in the US, reported today on a presentation in Minneapolis on 29 March by relatives of the 43 students who disappeared in the state of Guerrero in Mexico in September. Members of the “Caravana Ayotzinapa” (named for the town where the students were studying) are touring the US to maintain public interest in the case and to encourage the US authorities to pressurize the Mexican authorities to investigate the students’ disappearance more vigorously.  A statement issued by the Mexican Consulate in St Paul insisted that the authorities have “conducted an investigation without precedent in terms of its scope and transparency.” http://bit.ly/1HeyqTP

Amnesty calls on DRC to release human rights activists

Amnesty International announced today the launch of a campaign for the release of Congolese youth human rights activists held incommunicado in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo. The activists were arrested on 15 March when security forces stormed a press conference on youth civic engagement in political processes in the run up to the country’s elections. Prolonged incommunicado detention of the five detainees “constitutes ill-treatment and places them at risk of torture,” Amnesty said. http://bit.ly/1Ie3J11

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.