Daily World News Digest, 4 March 2016

Bosnian war crimes lab ID’s remains found in B.C. as teen who disappeared 35 years ago

CBC News carried a story on 3 March saying that the International Commission on Missing Persons lab that specializes in identifying victims of war crimes has been able to link human remains found in northern British Columbia two decades ago to a Prince Rupert teenager who went missing in 1981. Robert (Bob) William Johnston was 19 years old when he disappeared. Fourteen years after Johnston’s disappearance, hikers found skeletal remains on Mount Hays. The bones were confirmed as belonging to Johnston by the ICMP laboratory, which developed its advanced techniques and protocols as it worked to identify bones found in unmarked or mass graves. http://bit.ly/1L6VKJS

Mexico to investigate the massacre of Central American migrants

Telesur news portal reported on 3 March that the Mexican Supreme Court ordered Wednesday the Attorney General’s Office to open an investigation into the killings of 72 migrants that occurred six years ago in the town of San Fernando, Tamaulipas. The massacre took place in August 2010, when 58 men and 14 women from Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Ecuador and Brazil were killed. The migrants were expected to be on their way to the United States. The remains of the bodies were found in 2011 in several mass graves in the San Fernando region. Relatives of the victims claim that the investigations carried out so far have been inadequate. http://bit.ly/1QX9sS2

Óscar Martínez’s new book vividly demonstrates why people are fleeing Central America

In These Times, an American magazine, carried a story on 3 March saying that Central America is the world’s deadliest region when it comes to homicide rates. Óscar Martínez, a first-rate Salvadoran investigative reporter has made it his duty to chronicle the ins and outs of the Central American bloodshed. In 2013, Martínez’s first book follows the lives of people leaving their homes in Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador and Nicaragua for the US. Thousands disappear or die anonymous deaths along the way, and thousands more are physically, mentally and sexually abused by gangs. http://bit.ly/21M7ci1

Ukraine: growing despair among over three million civilians in conflict zone

UN News Center reported on 3 March that despite a decrease in the number of civilian casualties in the east of Ukraine over the past few months, a new UN report shows that the conflict is severely impacting on the daily life of civilians. The High Commissioner called on the Government of Ukraine and the self-proclaimed ‘Donetsk people’s republic’ and ‘Luhansk people’s republic’ to take action to clarify the fate of missing persons and to prevent other people from going missing. “The clarification of the fate of the missing should be a key priority of any peace negotiations,” he stressed. http://bit.ly/1Qvf8Aw

Burundi: Foreign journalists helped cover up mass graves a government official claims

International Business Times UK reported on 3 March that following the discovery of a mass grave near Burundi’s capital, the ruling CNDD-FDD party on 2 March accused foreign journalists of covering up its macabre existence and threatened them with legal action. Earlier this week, Bujumbura mayor, Freddy Mbonimpa, who announced the Burundian authorities had discovered a mass grave with around 30 corpses, rejected Amnesty International’s accusations that the government was behind them. The authorities exhumed three bodies from the site in Mutakura. The claims against journalist come in the context of government repression against them, many of whom have been forced into exile. http://bit.ly/24Fflay

Morocco: Historic mass graves, torture and human rights violations exposed in a report

All Africa news portal carried a story on 3 March saying that Moroccan authorities continue perpetrating serious abuses against the Sahrawi people in the non-self-governing territory of Western Sahara-including revelations of historic mass graves, torture, and multiple and assorted violations of human rights-according to Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights’ biannual report on violations that took place from July to December 2015. The report revealed the discovery of three historic mass graves, including the remains of at least 70 Sahrawi persons and at least 10 incidents of abuse in detention and/or violations of prisoners’ rights to health.  http://bit.ly/1Qpl9NO

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.