Daily World News Digest, 31 July 2017

Wife of disappeared Thai activist jailed

AFP reported on 28 July that the wife of a Thai land activist who disappeared in mysterious circumstances has been jailed for trespassing, her lawyer said Friday. Supap Kamlae has campaigned for a full probe into the suspected enforced disappearance of her husband Den, who disappeared in April 2016. Den, then 65, led a decades-long battle to secure land deeds for his community in northeastern Chaiyaphum province. On Thursday the Supreme Court upheld sentences against the couple for encroaching on forest land, ending a long-running case that began before Den’s disappearance. The UN has recorded at least 82 open cases of enforced disappearance in Thailand dating back to the 1980s. http://bit.ly/2uaMTPM

Pakistan activists highlight enforced disappearances

The News, from Pakistan, reported on 29 July that prominent human rights and civil society activists urged the Sindh government on Friday to withdraw policing powers from the paramilitary Rangers. They said more than 61 political activists from various parts of the province have gone missing in recent months, and a number of parents have received dead bodies — mutilated and bearing burn marks. Ali Palh, a lawyer who deals with cases of human rights violations, said Pakistan was a signatory to the UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders 1998, but practically the state was not abiding by the international declaration. http://bit.ly/2hbdIBV

 The opposition disappears in Bangladesh

The New York Times published an editorial on 28 July noting that more than 320 people have been unlawfully detained or have disappeared in Bangladesh since Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina Awami League party took office eight years ago, according to Odhikar, a Dhaka-based human rights group. Plucked from their homes or off the streets by plainclothes members of Bangladesh rapid action battalion or the detective bureau of the Dhaka police, the victims increasingly include members of the political opposition, as well as suspected criminals and Islamist militants. http://nyti.ms/2uJSS1x

Tanzania urged to continue sheltering Burundian refugees

The Guardian reported on 29 July that Tanzania’s president, John Magufuli, has drawn fierce criticism from activists after urging thousands of Burundian refugees to return to their home country. Tanzania hosts 241,687 Burundian refugees and asylum seekers, according to the latest statistics from the UN High Commissioner for Refugees. Burundi’s security and intelligence services in collaboration with the ruling party’s youth league are accused of numerous killings, disappearances, rapes and arbitrary arrests. Armed opposition groups have also carried out attacks. Tanzania has an ongoing obligation under international refugee law to ensure that Burundians fleeing violence and persecution can remain in Tanzania, said Maria Burnett, associate director at Human Rights Watch. http://bit.ly/2tRU0kB

Sri Lanka: call for government action on transitional justice

ReliefWeb issued a report on 28 July noting that eight years after the end of Sri Lanka’s armed conflict, Tamil speaking women in the island north and east are still seeking justice and truth for wartime violations. Bold promises by the government to the United Nations Human Rights Council in 2015 including a truth commission, a special court and offices to investigate missing persons and provide reparations have failed to materialize even as the urgent economic and psychosocial needs of all conflict-affected groups remain unmet, the report says. It adds that hardships faced by these women include lack of information on missing relatives, displacement from their land, economic deprivation, psychological trauma, and vulnerability to sexual violence and exploitation, plus a militarized environment that reinforces much of the above. http://bit.ly/2hfAfxt

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