Daily World News Digest, 8 April 2016

Syria conflict: IS ‘abducts hundreds of factory workers’

The BBC reported on 7 April that at least 200 people are reported missing after a suspected attack by the so-called Islamic State (IS) on a cement factory near Damascus. Workers were reportedly taken from a dormitory where they were staying on the outskirts of the town of Dumeir. A factory administrator said no-one had been able to contact the workers since the assault on Monday. The area around Dumeir has seen fierce fighting between government forces and IS militants in recent days. http://bbc.in/1WfoYsU

Yemen’s looming migrant crisis

The Wall Street Journal carried a story on 7 April saying that migrants are eager to cross the Bab el Mandeb, a dangerous stretch of water separating them from the Arabian Peninsula. Known as the “gateway to grief,” the strait’s treacherous waters have swallowed more than 3,700 African migrants since 2006. Saudi Arabia is their destination, according to IOM. Many of these migrants—already about 10,000 have been counted since January, compared to about 80,000 for all of 2014—are part of a growing population of vulnerable men, women and children who have disappeared upon leaving Djibouti. Some have died at sea trying to enter Yemen, including 44 confirmed drowned so far this year. Others have been kidnapped or tortured. http://on.wsj.com/25ODID9

Minister Bennett: Justice ‘uneven’ in cases of missing, murdered indigenous women

The Globe and Mail, a daily from Canada, reported on 7 April that Federal Indigenous Affairs Minister Carolyn Bennett told a glob-al audience in New York that racism and sexism in Canada have tainted the way some investigators handle homicide and missing-person cases involving indigenous women. The minister and her three co-panelists – relatives of two victims, and a former Vancouver detective laid bare the historic and modern social ills that render indigenous women vulnerable to crime in a country that is often on the international stage espousing human rights elsewhere. http://bit.ly/1RU5lkN

Experts end cooperation with feds on fire probe in Mexico’s missing 43 case

Fox News Latino carried a story on 7 April saying that a group of international specialists who have been investigating the 2014 disappearance of dozens of trainee teachers in southern Mexico said they would no longer cooperate with the federal Attorney General’s Office on a controversial aspect of the case, citing displeasure with how a probe into the alleged mass incineration of the victims’ bodies has been handled. Even so, the members of the Interdisciplinary Group of Independent Experts, or GIEI, said they would meet Friday with the AG’s office and the group of fire experts they jointly chose for a new study to determine whether the 43 missing students could have been burned at the municipal waste dump in Cocula. http://bit.ly/1oHSsSA

Mother’s search for son triggers prosecution in China

Human Rights Watch carried a story on 7 April saying that on Thrusday in Urumqi, capital of the region home to the ethnically Turkic Uyghur people, a court tried Patigul Ghulam in closed proceedings on allegations of leaking state secrets. The prosecution appears to stem from local officials’ fury that in April 2013 she spoke to Radio Free Asia about her search for her son, Imammemet Ali. Ali was one of an unknown number of men and boys whom the government forcibly disappeared in Urumqi following the July 2009 protests there. Instead of launching an impartial investigation Chinese law enforcement agencies carried out a massive campaign of arbitrary arrests in the Uyghur areas resulting in dozens of “disappearances.” http://bit.ly/1SCAF7y

Missing persons’ issue very sensitive in Pakistan

International News from Pakistan reported today that the Supreme Court on Thursday said that the missing persons’ issue was very sensitive and directed the interior and defense ministries to file reports in this regard. The court observed that the Commission of Inquiry for Enforced Disappearances was the proper forum which could investigate the cases of missing persons. The court directed Amna Masood Janjua, the Defense of Human Rights Chairperson, to report about the pace of work of the Commission of Inquiry for Enforced Disappearances (CIED). Janjua told the court that the performance of the said commission for the last six years was not satisfactory. Around 415 of the 1,172 cases were disposed of by the commission. http://bit.ly/1VCZpS7

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.