Daily World News Digest, 8 July 2015

Truth and justice are antidotes to violence and hatred

On 7 July the Huffington Post published an opinion piece by ICMP Commissioner Her Majesty Queen Noor of Jordan describing the remarkable response of families of the missing in the years since the Srebrenica genocide. Queen Noor wrote that she has spent long periods over the last two decades in the company of the Mothers of Srebrenica, who are “among the bravest and most inspiring people it has ever been my privilege to meet.” She stressed that “they have refused to abandon the pursuit of justice, and they have refused to descend to the level of the men who murdered their fathers and husbands and sons: they have refused to hate.” She stressed that ICMP has responded to the horror of Srebrenica with effective strategies that use state of the art technology and foster the rule of law. “Each of the thousands of white headstones at Srebrenica bears a name. On 11 July there will be more than 100 burials of newly-identified bodies. The perpetrators of the massacre wanted to erase the presence of these people, to eliminate them from human memory. The victims’ bones were scattered. But the missing have been accounted for and the dead have been laid to rest. This is a powerful response to the genocide. It is part of the long, slow application of justice, the affirmation of truth, the constructive empathy that can mitigate the terrible pain still experienced by the bereaved.” http://huff.to/1JROb5d

More than 100 newly-identified bodies will be laid to rest

The International Business Times published an article on Srebrenica today written by ICMP Chairman Thomas Miller and ICMP Director-General Kathryne Bomberger, stressing that that “recognizing and communicating the nature and scale of the crime” is an indispensable basis for ensuring that it is not repeated. “The killers sought to hide the evidence of their crime with the utmost callousness, using mechanical diggers to exhume bodies and scatter them across multiple secondary graves that they believed would be difficult to detect,” Miller and Bomberger wrote. “In the process they commingled the bones of the dead in a way that they may have thought would make them impossible to identify. They sought to destroy the very identities of the people they had murdered. In the Western Balkans, ICMP has led a process that has made it possible to account for more than 70% of the missing, an unprecedented achievement. In the case of Srebrenica the ratio of identifications is even higher, 6,930 individuals, more than 90% of those reported missing. Through painstaking forensic archaeology and using the most sophisticated DNA-led identification techniques it has been possible to locate and re-associate thousands of human remains, so that the relatives of the dead can bury their loved ones with dignity and respect.” http://bit.ly/1KMRhdN

Vote on Srebrenica resolution delayed by Russian veto threat

Yahoo News carried a story on 7 July saying that the U.N. Security Council delayed a vote on a British-drafted resolution that would condemn the 1995 massacre at Srebrenica during the Bosnian war as “a crime of genocide” until Wednesday after Russia informed council members it would veto the measure. Supporters of the resolution had been hoping for its unanimous approval to mark the 20th anniversary of the slaughter by Bosnian Serbs of some 8,000 Muslim men and boys who had sought refuge at what was supposed to be a U.N.- protected site. But leaders of the Bosnian Serbs and Serbia, who have close religious and cultural ties to Russia, have lobbied President Vladimir Putin to vote “no.” Russia has circulated a rival draft resolution which doesn’t mention either Srebrenica or genocide, but no vote has been scheduled on it. http://yhoo.it/1UzkNGT

Ethiopia threatens action against Eritrea

Sudan Tribune reported on 7 July that Ethiopia warned on Tuesday it would take necessary action against arch-rival Eritrea unless it refrains from an alleged destabilizing role in the volatile east African region. It also decided to assign human right experts who will investigate human right violations including to alleged “crimes against humanity” committed by the Eritrean government. Addis Ababa has repeatedly accused Asmara of trying to destabilizing the horn of Africa’s nation by backing Ethiopian rebels and by providing direct and indirect support to al-Qaida allied Islamist militants in Somalia. The UN body has also accused president Isaias Afeworki led-government of committing extra-judicial executions, torture, arbitrary and incommunicado detentions, enforced disappearances, sexual violence and other forms of right abuses by the regime. There are an estimated 5,000 to 10,000 political prisoners in Eritrea. http://bit.ly/1CZXNpq

17 migrants go missing after Greece-bound ship sinks

The Tribune, daily from Greece, carried a story today saying that at least 17 persons were reported missing after a refugee ship, with over 30 undocumented migrants onboard, sank in the Aegean Sea, according to Greek media. Sixteen persons, including a pregnant woman and a child, were rescued immediately after the ship sank between the Greek islands of Farmakonisi and Agazonisi in an operation carried out by Greek-Turkish rescue teams on Tuesday. Port authorities confirmed that the search operation continues. The nationalities of the passengers were unknown. About 61,000 migrants have arrived in Greece by sea since the beginning of 2015 – double the figure recorded in 2014 – while 37 died or disappeared, according to the International Organization for Migration. The civil war in Syria that broke out in March 2011 has rendered some four million Syrian refugees in neighbouring countries and about 30,000 of them have crossed to Greece in 2015. http://bit.ly/1JTrihK

Detained youth: study probes fate of young migrants, asylum seekers and refugees in Libya

The International Organization for Migration reported on 7 July saying that new study by Asmita Naik for the Mixed Migration Hub (MHub) reveals a consistent pattern of young migrants, refugees and asylum seekers held in Libya in arbitrary detention in squalid, cramped conditions for months at a time without any form of due process. The study, which paints a damning picture of the immigration detention of young migrants, asylum-seekers and refugees in Libya today, explores their experiences between November 2012 and November 2014. Detention occurs in facilities across the country, many of which are reported to be under the control of the governing authorities or militia forces. Serious rights violations, including allegations of violence and brutality, are said to be commonplace, including in some of Libya’s most notorious detention centres. Conditions were frequently described as deplorable. http://bit.ly/1dLtQCT

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.