Daily World News Digest, 30 November 2017

Argentine court sentences 29 to life for dictatorship crimes

Argentina has sentenced 29 people, some with nicknames such as “Blond Angel of Death” and “The Tiger”, to life in prison at a trial involving some 800 cases of kidnapping, torture and murder during the 1976-1983 dictatorship. Hundreds of people gathered outside the federal courthouse in Buenos Aires listening to the convictions, which took more than three hours to read. http://reut.rs/2zR1SpC 

First convictions for Argentinian “death flights”

Two former Argentinian military pilots have been given life sentences for their part in the death of a close friend of Pope Francis, who was hurled to her death from an aircraft during the country’s 1976-83 dictatorship. The ruling on Wednesday marked the first Argentinian judgement against participants in the so-called “death flights”, in which opponents of Argentina’s military regime were thrown into the freezing waters of the South Atlantic in an attempt to hide the murders. http://bit.ly/2zzL0iX 

Syria opposition calls for release of prisoners

The release of Syrian political prisoners would be a “game changer” in resolving the conflict, a senior member of the Syrian opposition said on Tuesday as the eighth round of UN-brokered peace talks continues in Geneva. “We were promised by Russia that the discussion on detainees would be conducted as a confidence-building measure . . . and that it would follow [the de-escalation agreement] but in fact nothing has happened”, Bassma Kodmani, who is part of the unified delegation representing the Syrian opposition in Geneva, said. http://bit.ly/2kbpCxF

Call for forensic investigation in Rakhine state

A letter published in The Nation newspaper in Thailand notes thatBased on victims’ interviews, it is self-evident that Myanmar’s military regime has committed genocide against the Rohingya. However, to be substantiated, and for the perpetrators to be arrested and tried, this too must be investigated. Evidence admissible in court must be collected.” The writer notes that at the trial of Ratko Mladic in The Hague, evidence was presented by the International Commission on Missing Persons, and called for a similar forensic investigation in Myanmar. http://bit.ly/2zCaEnq 

Enforced disappearances in Bangladesh

According to the Bangladeshi human rights group Odhikar, between January 2009 and October 2017, at least 402 persons became victims of enforced disappearances in Bangladesh. So far, the group said, some 81 people have been “disappeared” this year. The group documents only those cases where the witnesses alleged that the victims had been taken away by men who claimed or appeared to be from law enforcement agencies. http://bit.ly/2BmZljk

Stories of missing migrants

The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) has launched a new website calling global attention to the stories of those who go missing along migration routes. Today, more people are forcibly displaced than at any point since the end of the Second World War. Last year it is estimated that 65.6 million people, or one in every 120, were forced from home, escaping violence or vulnerability. http://bit.ly/2Bxu91A

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