Daily World News Digest, 9 December 2015

Canada: New government launches first phase of missing, murdered women inquiry

CTV News, a portal from Canada, reported on 8 December that new liberal government of Canada is launching the first phase of a national inquiry into missing and murdered aboriginal women, the justice minister said Tuesday. Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould said the first phase will include consultations with affected families in the national capital region to hear their input on the design and goals of the inquiry. Earlier in the day, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said the inquiry is a “top priority” of the Liberal government. Calls for a national inquiry have been growing since a 2014 RCMP review found that 1,181 indigenous women had been murdered or gone missing since 1980 — 164 missing and 1,017 homicide victims. http://bit.ly/1m9SyBR

At least 11 migrants dead in sinking off Greece

Belfast Telegraph reported today that at least 11 people have died and 13 are missing after a boat carrying about 50 migrants sank in the eastern Aegean Sea, Greek authorities said. Twenty-six people were rescued alive after the accident, which occurred when a wooden boat carrying the migrants from Turkey sank near the islet of Farmakonissi, the coast guard said. Five children, four men and two women died in the incident. Their nationalities were not immediately known. Police in northern Greece have closed a border crossing with Macedonia and are stopping people from getting within five kilometers of it following a standoff with hundreds of people who have been denied entry. http://bit.ly/1RDPIB9

Kenya: Excavation yields no bodies in Mandera ‘‘graves’’

Capital News, a portal from Kenya, reported today that Inspector General of Police Joseph Boinnet says there were no more bodies in the 15 excavated sites alleged to contain mass graves. Boinnet said the court-sanctioned excavation carried out on Tuesday and witnessed by politicians, local leaders; human rights activists and journalists did not yield any results. Some local leaders have accused police officers of extra-judicial killings following several cases of disappearances. Police however claim most of the reported cases were of those youths who crossed to the war torn Somalia to join Al-Shabaab. The Kenya National Commission on Human Rights issued a report in September detailing various counts of alleged victims of police brutality. http://bit.ly/1YY0BQg

More people crossing border, dying along the way in Rio Grande Valley

Fox News San Antonio carried a story on 8 December saying that authorities in the Rio Grande Valley noticed the increase in the number of persons crossing the border illegally, as well as to dying along the way. The ones who don’t survive end up at the medical examiner’s office in Laredo. “We’re the ones who actually go out on scene and sometimes recover these individuals,” Webb County Medical Examiner Dr. Corinne Stern says. The bodies of 100 border crossers have been recovered this year. Last year, most of the immigrants who died were from Central America. Right now, they’re Mexican Nationals. Dr. Stern is responsible for identifying the bodies and says that there are many immigrants who died in 2015 and still have not been identified. The examiners are currently asking the families to give DNA for their database. http://bit.ly/1XV8usF

Missing persons’ families resolve to boycott Paranagama Commission in Sri Lanka

TamilNet, a news portal from Sri Lanka, reported on 8 December that the organizations representing families of the enforced disappeared Eezham Tamils from the 8 districts of the country of Eezham Tamils came together in Jaffna on Tuesday to denounce the Sri Lankan Presidential Commission to Investigate into Complaints Regarding Missing Persons (PCICMP), which is also known as Paranagama Commission. The families of the missing persons have jointly decided not to take part in any sittings, scheduled to take place at the various Divisional Secretariats in the Jaffna District between 11 and 19 December. The families, expressing solidarity with the Tamil prisoners who have exposed the deceptive designs of the Sri Lankan State have also resolved to step up their protests. http://bit.ly/1Qex3MF

The never-ending tragedy of Kashmir’s half-widows whose husband were forcibly disappeared

Scroll, a digital daily from India, carried a story today saying that thousands of men have disappeared since the beginning of the armed struggle in the 1990s. Their wives are a poignant metaphor for Kashmir. The Kashmiri half-widow has been often likened to the state of Kashmir. The unique category emerged in the Valley over the past 25 years of conflict and insurgency. Between 8,000 and 10,000 Kashmiri men, combatants and non-combatants, have simply “disappeared” since the armed struggle for began in the 1990s. Their wives are now called half-widows. The crime of enforced disappearance is not legally recognized in India, and in Kashmir, cases of disappearances have been swept under the carpet under legal fictions of missing cases or as deaths. http://bit.ly/1Y18LF3

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.