Daily World News Digest, 9 February 2017

More mass graves discovered in Iraq

Iraqi News reported today that the Iraqi army has found two mass graves containing the bodies of unknown victims killed by Da’esh in Anbar province. The source told Alsumaria News that a force from the army’s 1st division had found the graves in a sanitary dump behind al-Askari district in the town of Rutba, 310 km west of Ramadi. The source added that a team of forensic officials was scheduled to arrive and begin identifying the human remains. http://bit.ly/2ltNKYw

Syria rejects Amnesty’s report of mass hangings

The Times of Israel yesterday published a rejection by Syria’s Justice Ministry of an Amnesty International report on the mass hanging of as many as 13,000 people in a prison near Damascus, calling the allegations “totally untrue” and part of a smear campaign.  The ministry’s statement said “misleading and inciting” media outlets carried the Amnesty report with the intention of smearing the Syrian government’s reputation — particularly after recent “military victories against terrorists groups.” The ministry said the allegations were “baseless”, because executions in Syria follow due process and various stages of litigation. http://bit.ly/2lr2CpK

Child migrants: UK to end ‘Dubs amendment’ commitment

The BBC reported yesterday that application of the law designed by peer and former refugee Lord Dubs aimed at helping some of the estimated 90,000 unaccompanied migrant children across Europe will end in March. Immigration Minister Robert Goodwill said 200 children had already arrived and a further 150 children would follow before the end of March, filling the available places offered by local authorities. Help Refugees, one of the British charities working in France, had already launched legal action against the government’s handling of Dubs. Its judicial review, which will be heard on Friday, argues that ministers failed to consult local authorities properly about how many unaccompanied children could be housed. http://bbc.in/2k65093

Incarcerations and disappearances in Zimbabwe 

New Zimbabwe, the online edition of a weekly newspaper on Zimbabwe published in the UK, published an article yesterday saying the Opposition People’s Democratic Party spokesperson Jacob Mafume has challenged diplomatic missions in Zimbabwe to follow the example of the US embassy, which has warned against President Robert Mugabe’s continued violation of fundamental human rights through the “unwarranted incarceration” of pastors Evan Mawarire and Patrick Mugadza. Mafume said the Opposition wants the government to establish the Independent Complains Mechanism as provided for under the Constitution. “Recently many activists were in illegal detention with some assaulted during the arrests,” Mafume said. He added that President Mugabe has managed “to minimize opposing voices through incarcerations, brutality, coercion and even the disappearances of activists.” http://bit.ly/2ln1F5R

Families seek resolution of abduction cases in Korea

The Voice of America reported yesterday that human rights and abductee advocacy groups say time is running out for many desperate and frustrated South Korean families seeking to resolve the fate of loved ones abducted by North Korea. These abduction cases remain unresolved, as escalating inter-Korean tensions over the North’s nuclear program have blocked any cooperation on humanitarian issues. South Korean groups representing abductee families complain that their government has forsaken them to prioritize either engaging or pressuring the North to halt its nuclear program. http://bit.ly/2k2tiBa

Study examines treatment of human remains in Cambodia

The Phnom Penh Post reported today on new research published in the Journal of Asian Studies into the unique way Cambodian Buddhists engage with the human remains of Khmer Rouge victims, choosing to leave the bones of the unknown dead untouched, as the fate of the corpse is closely linked with the afterlife. Improper burial or cremation leaves the souls of the dead in limbo, doomed to wander the site of their death or torment its living inhabitants, the study noted. In the Battambang village of Reaksmei Songha, previously the site of a Khmer Rouge labor camp, settlers refused to dig up or cremate bones that did not belong to relatives, opting instead to cover the bones back up or leave them undisturbed. http://bit.ly/2kKMH6p

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.