Daily World News Digest, 31 March 2016

Experts from ICMP train Kurds on unearthing, documenting mass graves in Shingal

Rudaw news portal reported on 30 March that in its campaign to have the massacre of Yezidi Kurds in Shingal recognized as genocide and bringing war criminals to justice, the Kurdistan Region has reached out to international experts for training. Four experts from the Iraq Program of the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) began a four-day crash course Monday, training Kurdish investigators on everything from unearthing mass graves to protecting and preparing evidence for international presentation. The training includes data collection, assessment and identification, team safety, documentation and protecting evidence. http://bit.ly/1SouF1S

Amnesty International Philippines dismayed with Aquino’s human rights record

Inquirrer, a daily from the Philippines, reported today that with his six-year term about to end in three months, Amnesty International Philippines (AIP) expressed dismay with the performance of President Aquino in addressing and stopping human rights violations. During Aquino’s presidency, laws such as the Anti-Enforced or Involuntary Disappearance Act of 2012 were passed. From July 2010 to September 2015, there were at least 438 recorded cases of extra-judicial killings and 31 cases of enforced disappearances, the human rights organization said. “Enforced disappearances remain common among activists, especially those from the human rights sector, journalists and indigenous peoples.” http://bit.ly/1TkcE9W

Turkey ‘slowing down’ excavation process

In-Cyprus news portal reported on 30 March that the Presidential Commissioner for Humanitarian Issues and Overseas Cypriots Fotis Fotiou has accused Turkey of dragging its feet over the search and excavation of missing Greek Cypriot remains in the north of the island. Speaking during an event on this week, he said that the number of missing Greek Cypriot remains, located in the north of the island, had “reduced significantly” before warning that the Committee of Missing Persons (CMP) anthropological laboratory could close by next if Greek Cypriot remains continued to come in at such a sluggish pace. He added that “there are still 1,025 Greek Cypriots missing out of the registered 1,508 http://bit.ly/1UVQITO

Colombia: Peace talks with ELN must not allow human rights abuses to go unpunished

Amnesty International issued a statement on 30 March saying that justice for the many victims of human rights abuses and violations amid Colombia’s five-decade armed conflict must lie at the heart of peace talks announced between the government and the National Liberation Army (Ejército de Liberación Nacional, ELN. The government and the ELN, the country’s second largest guerrilla group, said that official peace negotiations between the two sides are soon to take place, mainly in Ecuador. The 50-year conflict in Colombia has been marked by widespread as well as systematic violations and abuses of human rights, including unlawful killings, enforced disappearance, torture, forced displacement and sexual violence. http://bit.ly/25xWsqz

Inside the migrant-smuggling trade: Escapes start at €1,000

The Wall Street Journal carried a story on 29 March saying that the combination of closed borders and unrestrained migration has turned Athens’s Victoria Square into the center of a barely disguised human-trafficking business. Smugglers and their go-betweens hold furtive conversations with potential clients about routes, prices and modes of transport. When Europe’s refugee crisis exploded last year, demand for smugglers fizzled once migrants had successfully crossed the Aegean Sea from Turkey. The article brings the stories of migrants about smuggling prices and their experiences with the smugglers. http://on.wsj.com/1MPNlGd

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.