Daily World News Digest, 7 January 2019

Arbitrary detention in China 

The Guardian has published an article by Michael Caster, author of “The People’s Republic of the Disappeared”, arguing that “over the years China has institutionalized arbitrary and secret detention affecting innumerable Chinese citizens, and with little international consequence.” The author says “China feels emboldened to place literally anyone under arbitrary and secret detention, regardless of citizenship.” https://bit.ly/2QrLcbT 

Refugees stranded on Algeria-Nigeria border 

UNHCR has expressed concern over the safety of vulnerable individuals from Syria, Yemen and Palestine who are reportedly stranded at Algeria’s southern border with Niger. It says the group of 120 were detained at the Tamanrasset Centre in southern Algeria before being taken to an area near the Guezzam border post on 26 December. UNHCR says some of the individuals in the group are “registered refugees who have fled conflict and persecution or claim to have attempted to seek international protection in Algeria.” https://bit.ly/2C8QCDx 

Mass grave discovered in Iraq’s northern Kirkuk province 

Al Jazeera reports that authorities in northern Iraq have discovered a mass grave containing the bodies of civilians believed to have been killed by Da’esh. Residents found the bodies in a populated region near the town of Hawija in Kirkuk province after heavy rain in the area exposed the corpses. https://bit.ly/2GP5DQt   

New US law on missing persons 

ON 31 December, US President Donald Trump signed the Ashanti Alert Act into law, the Essence web portal reports. Under the law, a nationwide alert system will be established, geared towards missing adults between the ages of 18 and 64. The law is named after Ashanti Billie, a Maryland native who disappeared in September 2017. She was suspected to have been abducted, but at 19 years old, was too old for an Amber Alert notice, used in cases of suspected child abduction, and too young for a Silver Alert, used in cases involving endangered seniors. https://bit.ly/2SL1SNu