Daily World News Digest, 5 May 2017

Path to the US marked by bodies

On Thursday The New York Times featured a story about migrants who die while trying to cross into Texas. The remains of more than 200 unidentified migrants are kept at the border-crossers’ morgue at a Texas State University lab. For years, the article says, the process of examining and burying unidentified migrants was mishandled along the Texas border. Bodies were buried in clusters of up to five and many were buried either without DNA samples being taken or without any samples being submitted to a state DNA database, as required by Texas law. http://nyti.ms/2pLRv02

Greece paying asylum seekers to reject appeals

The EU Observer reported on Wednesday that the Greek government is giving cash incentives to rejected asylum seekers on the islands not to pursue their legal rights to appeal their cases. Around €1,000 and free plane tickets home “are now part of a largely EU-financed package to send them packing as quickly as possible”, the article says. Previously, people were entitled to assistance even if they appealed. The authorities say that a financial incentive is needed in order to prevent fake claimants from abusing the asylum system. http://bit.ly/2p9HyW9

Migrant trafficking: EU urges China to curb dinghy sales

France 24 reported on Thursday that Dimitris Avramopoulos, the EU commissioner for migration, urged Beijing to restrict the sale of inflatable dinghies that are used by trafficking gangs to carry migrants on sea journeys to Europe, after meeting with China’s public-security minister, Guo Shengkun. Last year Italian coastguard vessels recovered more than a thousand such craft, each with an average of 122 passengers. Avramopoulos described the dinghies as ‘’ a very dangerous tool in the hands of thugs’’. http://bit.ly/2pfHLZ1

Group calls on Malaysia to recognize enforced disappearances

The Malay Mail reports today that a non-governmental organisation in Malaysia has suggested that cases of missing activists be viewed as enforced disappearance. Since November, Pastor Joshua Hilmy and his wife Ruth, social activist Amri Che Mat, and Pastor Raymond Koh have gone missing. Koh’s abduction was captured by surveillance cameras. “Enforced disappearance is classified as abduction or deprivation of liberty by agents of the state or by those acting with the authorization or acquiescence of the state,” said Thomas Fann, chief spokesperson of the coalition Citizen Action Group On Enforced Disappearance (CAGED). “Based on CCTV footage and eye witnesses in the cases of Pastor Raymond Koh and Amri, it seemed like the abductors were professionally trained as if they were former special forces.” Deputy Home Minister Datuk Nur Jazlan last month said there were no political interference in any of the four cases. http://bit.ly/2qyod5Z

Enforced disappearance and counter-terrorism in Kenya

An article in the Daily Nation, from Kenya, by Amnesty Internatonal’s Kenya Country Director Justus Nyang’aya notes that since 2009, enforced disappearances and extrajudicial executions have been well-documented by civil society and the media in Kenya, particularly in counter-terrorism operations by security agencies, including police, army and paramilitary police. “These include at least 119 cases of enforced disappearance and 131 extrajudicial executions. The reports have all established that a majority of extrajudicial executions are preceded by enforced disappearances, which significantly increase whenever security agencies crack down on suspected members of organized criminal groups. One of the reasons police execute criminals and terror suspects is because they are incompetent at gathering evidence. They opt to either kill or enforce disappearance of suspected terrorists instead of taking them to court to determine their guilt or innocence.” The article says. http://bit.ly/2pMMdPU

Displaced from DRC find refuge in Angola

On Thursday, the Mail & Guardian from South Africa reported that thousands of refugees from the Democratic Republic of Congo are fleeing across the border to Angola. So far, an estimated 12,300 people have made the perilous journey to safety on foot, fleeing deepening conflict in Kasai province. The Congolese refugees in Angola are a small percentage of the million people thought to have been displaced by the conflict in Kasai. http://bit.ly/2pMWHyQ

Party supports disappeared leader in Pakistan

Dawn newspaper from Pakistan reported yesterday that Sindh United Party (SUP) President Syed Jalal Mehmood Shah on Wednesday condemned the “enforced disappearance” of his party’s leader in Qambar-Shahdadkot, Ibrahim Chandio, and registration of “false cases” against party activists in Naushahro Feroze. Mr Shah called for an end to what he described as “the practice of enforced disappearances” fueled by disputes among political parties. http://bit.ly/2pGB98D

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.