Daily World News Digest, 7 December 2017

ICMP launches new initiative in Serbia to locate clandestine graves

The International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP), in cooperation with the Government Commission on Missing Persons of the Republic of Serbia, has launched the “Site Locator” on-line application in Serbia to assist in locating clandestine gravesites. http://bit.ly/2zUCGuf

Colombia’s truth commission inaugurated

A truth commission that will investigate war crimes committed during Colombia’s half-century armed conflict has been inaugurated. The commission is part of the transitional justice system that also includes a war crimes tribunal. Expectations are high as tens of thousands of Colombians are missing, however President Juan Manuel Santos stressed that “the activities of the commission and the collected information will not have legal consequences.” http://bit.ly/2BHCnDB

Mexico: mass grave with 3,000 remains unearthed

A burial ground holding the remains of 3,000 suspected drug cartel murder victims has been unearthed in northern Mexico. The area was uncovered by Victims for their Rights in Action (Vida), a group representing families of tens of thousands of people who have gone missing as a result of drug violence. Forensic medical examiners are expected on the ground within days to send the remains to a laboratory in Mexico City. Since 2015, Vida has discovered 90,000 bones and bone fragments in at least 40 clandestine graves around Mexico. http://bit.ly/2iZhnol

India among “deadliest” countries for human rights defenders

Releasing its second global Report on Human Rights Defenders, Amnesty International has listed India among the “deadliest” countries where rights’ activists are at serious risk. Human Rights defenders in India “instead of being recognized and protected by the state, are portrayed as ‘criminals’, ‘foreign agents’, ‘anti-nationals’ and ‘terrorists’, and painted as a threat to development or traditional values. Such labels are divisive, signal contempt for constitutional rights, and give a green light to further abuses,” said Asmita Basu, Programmes Director at Amnesty International India. http://bit.ly/2Bbot0j

Cameroon urged to end torture in fight against Boko Haram

Cameroon must act swiftly on the recommendations published by the UN Committee against Torture and put an end to the widespread use of torture by security forces fighting Boko Haram, Amnesty International has said. The Committee expressed deep concerns about the use of secret torture chambers documented by Amnesty International in July, and its failure to clarify whether these allegations are being investigated, along with other reports of killings of civilians and enforced disappearances. http://bit.ly/2jml04w

Rights groups protest “killing fields” in Mindanao

Ahead of Human Rights Day on 10 December, rights groups have protested against the extension of Martial Law in Mindanao. On Wednesday, activists demonstrated in front of the Department of National Defense in Quezon City. A spokesperson for the protestors said that President Rodrigo Duterte “has made Mindanao and the rest of the country into a killing field, instigating an open season for killings and rights violations, through counter-insurgency program and [the] Martial Law declaration.” One of the groups said it has identified 29 victims of extrajudicial killings many of whom were members of farmers’ organizations. http://bit.ly/2k2ULQj

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