Daily World News Digest, 4 December 2015

UN orders Nepal to prosecute those responsible for disappearances

Advocacy Forum, a Nepalese human rights organization, anounced on 2 December that the UN Human Rights Committee has found Nepalese authorities responsible for the disappearance of eight youths and called for criminal prosecution of the perpetrators. The youths, aged between 14 and 23 at the time of their disappearance, were taken by soldiers from their homes at around midnight on 11 April 2002. Their families have not seen them since. The ruling follows a case brought to the Committee by family members of the missing in 2011. The Committee said it is insufficient for the case to be looked at by either Nepal’s soon-to-be-formed Truth and Reconciliation Commission or the Enforced Disappearances Commission. Instead, Nepal must begin a full investigation into the disappearances with a view to prosecuting those responsible, it said. http://bit.ly/1IHPCBa

The Syrian civil war has wrought a terrible toll on women

News portal medialine.org carried a story on 3 December on the gender impact of the war in Syria.  Stoning, lashings, beatings and enforced disappearances of women have become increasingly frequent in the country — and not just at the hands of Islamic State, according to a new Syrian Network for Human Rights report. The report documents cases of kidnapping of women as forcible recruits by Kurdish Self- Management Forces even as these have been lauded in the West for their female fighting force. SNHR has documented the killing of 18,917 women by government forces since it began collecting statistics in March 2011. According to SNHR’s archives, more than 7029 women are still arrested including 6711 adult females and 318 adolescent females. More than a thousand women are categorized under enforced disappearance. http://bit.ly/1m0A6eU

Former Tamil politician says second illegal detention center found in Sri Lanka

New Delhi TV reported on 3 December that a second illegal detention center has been found in Sei lanka. A former Tamil parliamentarian has released photographs of blood-stained walls in a house in the northern Jaffna district, where he says detainees were tortured by the Sri Lankan army after the area was recaptured from the Tamil Tigers in 1995. The Sri Lankan army has denied the existence of any such facility in the north. The latest allegation came a fortnight after a three-member team of the UN Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances disclosed the existence of a similar facility in the eastern district of Trincomalee. On Wednesday, Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera told Parliament that the UN Working Group’s findings will be seriously investigated by the government. http://bit.ly/1NtYNul

The unending wait in Bangladesh

The Bangladeshi newspaper Prothom Alo carried a feature story on 4 December exploring the human implications of the enforced disappearance of political activists in the country.  The story focused on the case of Sjdul Islam, who disappeared on 4 December 2012, along with seven others, allegedly detained by Bangladesh’s security forces. A total of 19 people reportedly went missing between 28 November and 11 December 2013 from the capital Dhaka. After failing to enlist the help of the Bangladesh police, families of the missing filed an appeal to the UN Committee on Enforced Disappearance last year. Sajedul Islam’s sister Sanjida Islam was invited to address a session of the Committee’s working group on 14 September 2014. “We have sought justice from the UN,“ she said. “They said they will communicate with the government, but they are yet to make any contacts with the government.” http://bit.ly/1QXQ0U1

Jailed Chinese rights activist appeals ‘illegal’ and ‘unjust’ sentence

Radio Free Asia reported on 3 December that a prominent Chinese rights activist jailed for six years by a court in the southern city of Guangzhou last week has filed a formal appeal, saying the judgment against him is “illegal and runs counter to natural justice.” Yang Maodong, better known by his pseudonym Guo Feixiong, was sentenced to six years’ imprisonment for “gathering a crowd to disrupt public order” and “picking quarrels and stirring up trouble”, at a hearing in the provincial capital Guangzhou along with two co-defendants on Friday. Fellow activists Liu Yuandong and Sun Desheng were also jailed by Guangzhou’s Tianhe District People’s Court for three and two-and-a-half years respectively. The Rights Defense Network, an advocacy group based in China, said it has documented the cases of 122 human rights defenders who are currently detained or under enforced disappearance in China. http://bit.ly/1HJRBdh

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.