Daily World News Digest, 9 July 2015

Russia vetoes UN move to call Srebrenica “genocide”

The BBC reported on 8 July that Russia has vetoed a United Nations Security Council resolution that would have described the Srebrenica massacre as “genocide”. Four other members of the council abstained while the remainder voted in favor. The killing of some 8,000 Muslim men and boys in 1995 by Bosnian Serb troops was the worst massacre in Europe since World War Two. The motion had angered Serbia, which rejects the term. It had been drafted to mark the 20th anniversary of the atrocity, which came amid the bloody break-up of Yugoslavia into independent states. During the Bosnian War, which saw Serbia-backed Bosnian Serb forces fighting the Muslim-led Bosnian government, thousands seeking shelter at what was supposed to be a UN refuge were slaughtered. The resolution said that “acceptance of the tragic events at Srebrenica as genocide is a prerequisite for reconciliation”. But Russia’s UN Ambassador Vitaly Churkin said adopting it “would be counter-productive, would lead to greater tension in the region”. http://bbc.in/1HgyCzT

Srebrenica massacre, after 20 years, still casts a long shadow in Bosnia

The New York Times reported on 8 July that as Europe marks the 20th anniversary of the massacre of about 8,000 Muslim men and boys in the Bosnian town of Srebrenica, reconciliation has been halting in a region where memories and wounds, personal and political, run deep. There is division even over what to call the mass killing. Although two international tribunals based at The Hague have ruled that it constituted genocide, Russia on Wednesday vetoed a draft United Nations Security Council resolution that condemned the massacre as a “crime of genocide,” with its ambassador to the United Nations, Vitaly I. Churkin, calling the language of the measure “confrontational” and “politically motivated.” In Srebrenica, the search for human remains continues. Two decades later, relatives still scour the nearby forest for bones. According to the International Commission on Missing Persons, 6,930 victims have been identified from 17,000 body parts found in dozens of mass graves. But around 1,000 victims from the massacre have still not been identified. http://nyti.ms/1eFVGBo

More than 100 people have been killed extrajudicially this year in Bangladesh

Global Voices reports today that human rights organization in Bangladesh Ain O Shalishi Kendra (ASK) has published a report showing that in the first six month of this year, 101 people were victims of extrajudicial killings while in custody of different law and enforcement units. Twenty-nine people disappeared or were abducted and 132 died from political violence. According to a Daily New Age report, more than 200 people, mostly political activists, fell victim to enforced disappearances from 2007 to 2014. Supreme Court lawyer and director of the Brac University School of Law Dr. Shahdeen Malik said in an interview with the Daily Star that the “culture of impunity” is the main reason why enforced disappearances take place in Bangladesh. http://bit.ly/1D2vTt6

Egypt: UN must call on authorities to refrain from adopting new Anti-Terrorism Law

allafrica carried a story on 7 July saying that Alkarama sent a letter to the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms while countering terrorism (SRCT) to ask the Egyptian authorities to refrain from adopting a new draft anti-terrorism law. Approved both by the Cabinet and the Supreme Judicial Council on 5 July 2015, this draft law is awaiting ratification by the President of the Republic. To Alkarama, it is a de facto an emergency law as it gives extraordinary powers to the security forces and to the President of the Republic while jeopardizing Egyptian citizens’ fundamental rights. “Torture, enforced disappearances, arbitrary arrests and extrajudicial killings are now familiar to Egyptian citizens because they have been made commonplace by the authorities since the military coup. With this new law, the authorities will have a new tool to further stifle any kind of dissent, without any reaction from the international community,” said Rachid Mesli, Alkarama’s Legal Director. http://bit.ly/1Mh1Se9

One dead and eighteen migrants missing as boat sinks off coast of Greece

The Independent reported on 8 July that one person has died and eighteen migrants are missing as a sail boat carrying Syrian migrants sank in the Aegean Sea, between the small Greek islands of Agathonisi and Garmakonisi. Greek and Turkish rescue efforts have managed to save eighteen people. The Greek Maritime Ministry has said around 37 migrants were believed to be on board before the boat sunk. In the first half of 2015, more than 135,000 refugees and migrants have arrived in Europe, often fleeing poverty and conflict in Africa and the Middle East. Greece is the largest arrival point, which is putting strain on a country that is already struggling with a historic debt crisis. http://ind.pn/1KQuNZm

Syrian refugees: four million people forced to flee as crisis deepens

The Guardian carried a story today saying that the conflict in Syria has now driven more than four million people – a sixth of the population – to seek sanctuary in neighboring countries, making it the largest refugee crisis for almost a quarter of a century, according to the UN. On Thursday the UN refugee agency, UNCHR, said the total number of Syrian refugees in Turkey, Lebanon, Iraq, Jordan, Egypt and other parts of north Africa stood at 4,013,000 people. With at least 7.6 milion people forced from their homes within Syria, almost half the country’s people are either refugees or internally displaced. The conflict, now in its fifth year, has killed more than 220,000 people. The UN predicts there will be 4.27 million Syrian refugees in the region by the end of 2015; at the end of last year, one in every five displaced people worldwide was Syrian. http://bit.ly/1JQOPmn

A deadly warning: Srebrenica revisited, BBC One, review: “emotional”

The Telegraph carried a story today saying that In A Deadly Warning: Srebrenica Revisited (BBC One) journalist Myriam Francois-Cerrah travelled out to Bosnia with a group of British students on a trip organized by a charity dedicated to keeping memory of the massacre alive. The students, all born in the year of the massacre, were a culturally representative mix united by intelligence, enthusiasm, idealism and concern; and all were clearly shocked. Not only by the history lesson that awaited them but also the fact that it had figured so little in their education. Following a meeting with relatives of those who died and a visit to the memorial cemetery, the group met a Serbian official who was circumspect at best about who was responsible, and refused to accept it was an act of genocide. Yet this was a turning point for the students, too, forced as they were to take on board the real-world complexity of the ethnic tensions behind the Bosnian conflict. http://bit.ly/1RlVfxM

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.