Daily World News Digest, 5 September 2017

Iran: Campaign to stop destruction of mass grave from 1988

Amnesty International today called on the Iranian authorities to stop the destruction of a mass grave in the southern city of Ahvaz, where dozens of prisoners killed during a wave of mass extrajudicial executions in August and September 1988 are buried. Footage obtained by Amnesty shows the site is gradually being buried beneath piles of construction waste. The organization says crucial forensic evidence that could be used to bring those responsible for the 1988 mass extrajudicial executions to justice may be destroyed. http://bit.ly/2vGIhX8

Identifying the disappeared in Colombia

An in-depth article published by Al Jazeera examines steps being taken in Colombia to fulfill a commitment by both parties under last November’s peace agreement to recover and return the remains of tens of thousands of disappeared people. Guerrillas, paramilitaries, drug cartels, and state security officials forcibly disappeared 60,630 people between 1970 to 2015, according to a study by the country’s National Center for Historical Memory, released in 2016. Now, as the mechanisms to establish truth, justice, and reparations begin to work, forensic experts are preparing to deal with an overflow of bodies and skeletal remains. As of July of this year, the Prosecutor’s Office located 5,387 graves and exhumed 6,862 bodies, of which 3,482 were identified and returned to their families. http://bit.ly/2wAoSEm

Slow justice in the Philippines as drug war rages

The already slow and under-resourced judicial system in the Philippines has seen a “tidal wave” of new cases as police have conducted a nationwide crime crackdown. Since President Rodrigo Duterte came to power, 96 700 people have been arrested as part of the drug war, according to the presidential spokesperson, adding to pressure on overcrowded jails. The government says it is fast-tracking the hiring of hundreds of prosecutors and improving staff training. http://bit.ly/2wBbkKm

Venezuelan President Nicholas Maduro to address UN Human Rights Council

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro is expected to address the opening day of a three-week UN Human Rights Council session on 11 September. Venezuela has not allowed UN rights officials to make a fact-finding visit to the country since 1996. The UN says some 882 people are currently believed to be still in custody out of 5,341 arbitrarily detained in street protests since April. http://bit.ly/2iZpLTJ

Romania stops migrant ship on emerging Black Sea smuggling route

Romania’s coast guard has intercepted a fishing boat carrying scores of migrants off its Black Sea coast for the third time in as many weeks, highlighting the country’s growing role as a transit route for people trying to reach Western Europe. Romanian officials said 87 people were onboard the boat that was stopped on Sunday and, like two vessels halted last month carrying a total of almost 140 people from the Middle East, it was believed to have set sail from the northern coast of Turkey. About 2,500 foreigners were caught trying to cross Romania’s borders illegally in the first six months of 2017, compared to 1,624 in the whole of last year. Romania’s eastern coastline and at its western borders, are used as a way around the fence that Hungary has built along its frontier with Serbia. http://bit.ly/2eYnrYY

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.