Daily World News Digest, 7 December 2015

Sri Lanka reconciliation process

The Sunday Leader from Sri Lanka reported on 7 December that a policy on reconciliation being drawn up under the chairmanship of former President Chandrika Kumaratunga will soon be completed. Kumaratunga, who is chair of the Office for National Unity and Reconciliation, said she hopes the policy will be accepted by the Government and made the National Policy on Reconciliation. Proposals include setting up a grievance unit; issuing ‘Certificates of Absence’ for families; establishing a domestic mechanism to address post-war issues of truth and accountability; and holding senior military officers accountable in the domestic process when investigating incidents related to the war. Kumaratunga said that the accountability process will begin either this month or next month with the establishment of a Special Court. She said the government will accept foreign technical assistance in the domestic process but not foreign judges. http://bit.ly/1Odb2b4

Bangladesh: “A terrifying disappearing act“

The Daily Star from Bangladesh reported on a press conference given in Dhaka by the families of eight men on 4 December, the second anniversary of their disappearance. According to Ain O Salish Kendra (ASK), a legal aid and human rights organization, 88 people were reported to have been abducted by law enforcers in 2014. Of this number, the organization said, 42 never returned and 23 came back as bodies. In 2013 the number of such missing persons was 68. The relatives of the victims have gone to the offices of the law enforcement agencies only to be rebuffed as these agencies persistently deny having picked up any of the victims, the paper reported, adding that the most frightening aspect of these forced disappearances is that the law enforcing agents involved cannot be held accountable because ‘officially’ such arrests or detentions have not taken place. http://bit.ly/1NcZKUt

Egypt: dispute over political status of the disappeared

Egypt Independent, a web portal, reported on 6 December on a dispute between a human rights organization and a political commentator over the nature of enforced disappearances in Egypt. When Aida Seif al-Dawla, who chairs the El-Nadeem Center for the Rehabilitation of Victims of Violence, issued a report by the center last week which listed 40 cases of forced disappearance in November, as well as 13 deaths due to torture by police, Khaled Salah, chief editor of the independent daily Youm 7, and media host at the satellite TV channel al-Nahar, suggested that “thirty or 40 percent of those (victims of forced disappearance) are with the Islamic State.“ In a Facebook response, Seif al-Dawla called on Salah “to send us the names of the 30 or 40 percent you said had joined IS to check whether they are enlisted in our reports. . .  If it appears that you are not telling the truth, there will be a day when you and your newspaper will have to apologize for every victim of forced disappearance and every heartbroken parent.” http://bit.ly/1LXQ5PO

Three former Pinochet agents arrested for student’s murder

The Telesur web portal reported on 4 December that the Chilean Supreme Court had sentenced three former secret agents who worked for the former dictator Augusto Pinochet (1973-1990) for the murder of a theology student and activist in 1978.  The victim, German Rodriguez Cortes, was killed at the age of 29. He was a former seminarian of the Fathers of the Holy Family and a member of the Political Committee of the Revolutionary Left Movement during the dictatorship.  According to official data, 903 people were reported as disappeared and 1,759 were executed during Pinochet’s 17 year rule. http://bit.ly/1NQugsW

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.