Daily World News Digest, 8 February 2017


Syrian regime detains opponents as it seeks to reassert control

The Wall Street Journal reported yesterday that opposition activists and residents have said that the Syrian regime is using mass detentions and other security-state tactics to snuff out dissent in places that were out of its control for years.  Most of the prisoners are civilians perceived by the Syrian regime as opponents, including protesters, political dissidents, human rights defenders, journalists, doctors and humanitarian aid workers. Nearly 2,000 people were caught up in a regime dragnet in the final month as Aleppo fell to the government and its allies, according to the opposition group Syrian Network for Human Rights. Those who have recently been imprisoned are in addition to tens of thousands of detainees who human rights groups allege have been forcibly disappeared in the regime’s labyrinth of notorious prisons over the course of the war. http://on.wsj.com/2kO04VM

More flee Burundi as enforced disappearances continue

The Voice of America reported yesterday that the UN refugee agency has warned that conditions in camps for Burundian refugees in countries of asylum are deteriorating. Tanzania, Rwanda, and the Democratic Republic of Congo are hosting more than 386,000 Burundian refugees. The UN refugee agency expects that number to exceed 1.5 million this year as refugees continue to flee political instability and abuse in Burundi. Peace talks between the government and opposition are stalled. “There are still reports of forced disappearances, targeted assassinations and extra-judicial killings of civilians and law enforcement agents. The situation is still quite grave and hundreds of people are still leaving,” UNHCR spokesman Leo Dobbs told VOA. http://bit.ly/2lgavSV

Families in Egypt seek help in accounting for missing youths

Ikhwan web, a portal maintained by Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood, published an open letter today from the relatives of seven youths from the town of Hehia north of Cairo, who have been missing for 40 days. Relatives say they have searched for the missing at police stations, prosecutors’ offices and detention centers, where officials have denied that the men are being detained. They are calling on human rights organizations to intervene to help disclose their place of detention and to secure their release. http://bit.ly/2kMB1Tr

Balochistan: son of political leader seized by security forces in Karachi

The Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization (UNPO), reported yesterday that on 3 February 2017, sixteen-year-old Balach Ghulam Mohammad was taken from his home by Pakistani security forces. Balach is the son of Ghulam Mohammad, the leader of the Baloch National Movement (BNM) and long-time political activist, who was killed, UNPO reports, during a series of forced disappearances in 2009. The United Nations had expressed “serious concern” over the killings and urged an immediate investigation. The BNM has called on the UN to take note of the abduction of Balach Baloch and help secure his safe release. http://bit.ly/2kqxHfr

Nepal amendment would stiffen punishment for perpetrators of enforced disappearance

The Kathmandu Post released an article today explaining that a draft of the first amendment to Nepal’s Enforced Disappearances Enquiry, Truth and Reconciliation Commission Act of 2014 proposes a maximum of 20 years in jail for perpetrators of murder and disappearance. The draft was prepared at a time when the government and political parties have drawn criticism for failing to ensure accountability for human rights abuses committed during the decade-long insurgency. A copy of the draft obtained by the Post defines killings, enforced disappearance, rape and sexual abuse and torture as incidents of grave human rights violation. The draft, which will be sent for approval in the coming days, would criminalize acts of disappearance and torture and has a provision that would impose a fine on perpetrators, with the money being transferred to the victims. http://bit.ly/2k1GB4J

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.