Daily World News Digest, 5 April 2016

How satellites are being used to expose human rights abuses

The Guardian carried a story on 4 April saying that it was the satellite images showing recently disturbed ground that seemed to provide the final confirmation that the Burundi authorities had dug a mass grave to bury victims killed by police in the Buringa area late last year. Tools known as geospatial technology that map and analyze the earth have been used to expose injustices and human rights abuses. But the huge impact and success of this satellite-based research only works when it is effectively combined with other research methods, says Christoph Koettl, emergency response manager at Amnesty International US. http://bit.ly/23afrFm

Forced disappearances a black hole in Thai justice system

Latin American Herald Tribune reported today that it has been nearly two years since Phinnapha Phrueksaphan’s husband went missing after being detained by forest guards, but she is yet to find justice. Her husband Pholachi “Billy” Rakchongcharoen was arrested on 18 April, 2014 from the Kaeng Krachan national park, where he was investigating alleged abuses against local communities. On the day of his disappearance, the activist had met with some villagers who had denounced Chaiwat and other officials for allegedly burning the houses of around 20 Karen families in 2011. The case was rejected by the courts as the Thai law does not take into account cases of forced disappearances. http://bit.ly/1UFc7R9

New report on missing Ayotzinapa students questioned by Argentine forensic experts

Latin Times carried a story on 3 April saying that less than a month after the disappearance of Ayotzinapa students, Mexican officials announced several random mass graves had been found with approximately 38 bodies but at least 30 of the cadavers did not belong to any of the missing students. Now, a new investigation report surfaced and the Argentine Forensic Anthropology Team has qualified it as incomplete and inconclusive. The report studied a dump, where, according to Mexico authorities, the bodies of the 43 missing students were burned. The experts found that there was a controlled fire event of great dimensions in the dump. http://bit.ly/1Vn5lhX

Alkarama reports two enforced disappearance cases to the WGEID

Daily News Egypt reported on 4 April that the Swiss-based organization Alkarama reported two enforced disappearance cases of Egyptian students to the UN Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances (WGEID) demanding that Egyptian authorities disclose their locations detention and allow their families and a lawyer to visit them. The report noted that both students’ families turned to Alkarama to send letters to WGEID after failed attempts to obtain any information about their sons’ location from Egyptian authorities. Thousands of individuals have disappeared in the past two years, without reason.  http://bit.ly/1qr7j5u

Thailand: Human rights groups condemn NCPO Order 13/2016 and urge for it to be revoked immediately

Human Rights Watch issued a statement today saying that Thailand must immediately revoke National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) Order 13/2016 which confers sweeping powers on the Royal Thai Armed Forces in contravention of human rights and the rule of law. The Order provides agents with wide-ranging powers to prevent and suppress crimes including against public peace, liberty and reputation, immigration, human trafficking, narcotics, and weapons. It also authorizes the deprivation of liberty of persons for up to seven days in unrecognized places of detention, without judicial oversight, which increases the risk of further human rights abuses, including torture and enforced disappearance. http://bit.ly/1Maylb2

The Regeni fallout: what could Egypt face?

Daily News Egypt reported on 4 April that percussions continue in Egypt following of the critical murder case of Italian PhD student Giulio Regeni. Announcements by Italian media outlets that an Egyptian delegation is scheduled to visit Rome on 5 April have come amid a complete blackout from their Egyptian counterparts. Regeni, 28, was found in a ditch along the Cairo-Alexandria Desert in February, after having been reported missing for nine days. “If we reach a point where national judicial mechanisms are insufficient to bring Regeni’s murderers to justice, this will open doors for foreign investigations in to the case,” human rights lawyer Negad El-Boraie explained. http://bit.ly/1oxqIjv

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.