Daily World News Digest, 5 June 2015

Children’s homes in Indian state briefed on child tracking system

The Hindu newspaper carries a story today about a training seminar on missing children, conducted by the district administration in the city of Coimbatore in Tamil Nadu State, with the Department of Social Welfare and the District Child Protection Unit. The seminar on 5 June presented a missing children tracking system. All the 78 children’s homes in the district, which have around 4,000 residents, took part. The tracking network will have all details of an inmate such as estimated age, mother tongue, identification marks and physical features. The database will be collated at the national level so that those missing in other States can be tracked. Registering under this network is mandatory for children’s homes in India. http://bit.ly/1Ke8D1u

Croatia and Serbia agree on the figure of 1,606 missing

BalkanInsight reported on 4 June that the Croatian and Serbian commissions dealing with the issue of persons missing from the 1990s conflicts have agreed on the number of people on the list. According to both commissions there are 1,606 Croat and Serb missing who were living in Croatia between 1991 and 1995. http://bit.ly/1M9Udhr

Festival Aims to Rebuild Serbia-Kosovo Relations

BalkanInsight carried a story on 5 June on the Belgrade festival of Kosovo Albanian films, exhibitions, concerts and debates about the 1990s conflict, which organizers say is aimed at restoring personal contacts between Serbs and their neighbors. The five-day festival, entitled Miredita, Dobar Dan! opens on Thursday in Belgrade and aims to build bridges between ordinary people divided by politics and conflict. The festival is a cultural parallel to the negotiations between political leaders from Belgrade and Pristina after the so-called Brussels Agreement to normalize relations. During the festival, which is also organized by the Belgrade-based Policy Centre and Pristina-based Integra NGOs, there will abe plays, concerts, exhibitions and a debate about missing persons from the 1998-99 conflict, which will be attended by Kosovo Albanian and Serbian war victims. http://bit.ly/1T0g54c

Statistics on missing children in South Africa

The Citizen newspaper in South Africa reports today on the activities of a non-profit organization, Missing Children SA (MCSA), that assists the authorities when individuals go missing in South Africa. In a statement issued on 5 June MCSA said a total of 598 individuals – 362 adults and 236 children – were reported missing in the year to 31 May, with 395 found. MCSA said these figures are only based on cases reported to the organization and do not reflect all the cases reported to the police. It further refers to figures by the police stating that 1,697 cases of missing children were reported to the police in 2013. MCSA said it has a success rate of 66% in finding missing persons, with the success rate for missing children at 73%. http://bit.ly/1Go9Cg5

Turkey: in pursuit of peace, but what about justice?

The EqualTimes reported on 4 June that after Ilhan Bilir disappeared in 1992 his brother Ramazan started to look for him. Güllü Bilir, Ramazan’s wife, told researchers at the Istanbul-based Truth Justice Memory Centre what happened next. “He would walk on foot, searching for him…He would go everywhere his brother might have stopped by. ‘I won’t stop…I must find out what happened to my brother,’ he used to say.” After three years, somebody came to Ramazan promising to reveal his brother’s whereabouts. Ramazan went with this person and was never seen again. Their story is just one account of many featured in the report The Unspoken Truth: Enforced Disappearances produced by the Truth Justice Memory Centre. Between the years 1980 and 2000, an estimated 1,500 to 2,000 people were forcibly disappeared. With important exceptions, most victims were male and Kurdish. Incidents peaked in the 1990s in the context of the conflict between the Turkish government and the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), a one-time Kurdish separatist, insurgent group, which has since renounced its aim of establishing an independent Kurdish state. http://bit.ly/1eSJoWB

Addressing the missing persons issue in Ukraine

The Financial newspaper from Georgia reports today that the PACE Committee on Migration, Refugees and Displaced Persons, meeting in Bishkek (Kirghizstan), has expressed its concern at the growing number of cases of missing persons reported in the areas of military action in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions of Ukraine as well as in Crimea. The report by Jim Sheridan (United Kingdom, SOC), adopted by the committee, states that, according to the information provided by the Security Service of Ukraine, 1 330 persons have been registered as missing since April 2014. The missing persons include not only soldiers but also civilians, including volunteers who were assisting the population in the conflict areas. The adopted text says that it is difficult to determine their whereabouts and their fate as most of them remain in the territories controlled by the separatist groups. The committee urges the parties to the conflict to “share information on the fate and whereabouts of missing persons” and to take steps to help families to find and identify the remains of their loved ones. http://bit.ly/1HP150g

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.