Daily World News Digest, 9 March 2016

Council of Europe meeting on missing persons in Cyprus

Cyprus Mail reported on 8 March that discussions began on Tuesday at the Council of Europe (CoE) Committee of Ministers in Strasbourg on the issue of missing persons in Cyprus. Turkey recently circulated a memorandum at the CoE, reiterating its previous call for access to be granted in military sites in the government-controlled areas as “places where there is credible evidence that there are remains belonging to reported missing persons”. The CoE discussions will go on until Thursday in order to examine implementation of human rights judgments, which included the issue of missing persons. http://bit.ly/1OZunfG

Beyond Boko Haram: Child abductions in Nigeria

Christianity Today magazine carried a story on 8 March saying that this month, two girls who had been kidnapped and subject to forced conversion and marriage in northern Nigeria were returned to their families after unprecedented public pressure. Fourteen-year-old Ese Rita Oruru was allegedly abducted on 12 August 2015 by a man called Yunusa Dahiru who converted her to Islam and married. After a major campaign, Ese reunited with her family on 2 March. Cases like this highlight longstanding concerns about the abduction, forced conversion and forcible marriage of non-Muslim minors, which is particularly prevalent in rural areas of Shari’a states in northern Nigeria.  http://bit.ly/1QIS3XZ

UN expert urges Iraqi Government to protect marginalized ethnic, religious groups

UN News Center issued a statement on 8 March saying that a clear message must be sent to all of Iraq’s diverse communities that they have a future in the country, an independent United Nations human rights expert today said, calling on the Government to ensure the protection of the most threatened and marginalized ethnic and religious groups. UN Special Rapporteur on minority issues Rita Izsák-Ndiayevoiced alarm for the Yezidi community, whose women and girls have been held captive by Daesh and subject to various abuses. She called also for concerted efforts to free the women and for protection of mass graves and other evidence of atrocities. http://bit.ly/1R6Stg7

ICC prosecutor praises forensic work of a professor

The Courier carried a story on 8 March saying that as terrorists and militants become increasingly powerful, the world is increasingly turning to experts such as Dundee professor Sue Black. Her ground-breaking forensic work has been praised by the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague. Her assistance was vital to establish whether forensic evidence from the war crime scenes corroborated witness statements about the massacre of Kosovan Albanians by Serb forces. ICC’s chief prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda, said the use of forensic scientific evidence was having an increasing impact upon cases of national and international significance. http://bit.ly/1URTloC

A year later, no leads in Itai Dzamara’s disappearance

New Zimbabwe carried a story on 8 March saying that the family of a missing Zimbabwean human rights activist on Tuesday won a High Court ruling overturning a police ban on a commemorative march. Dzamara was seized by men who took him from a barbershop and bundled the former newspaper reporter into a waiting car with concealed number plates on 9 March last year. His wife suspects he was taken by state agents. The government has denied responsibility. Dzamara’s family has pushed the police and the government to raise the profile of the case. Enforced disappearance of government opponents is becoming a pattern in Zimbabwe, said Amnesty International. http://bit.ly/1Udqvyk

Hong Kong bookseller voiced fears about China agents before he disappeared

Reuters reported on 8 March that in a series of at least ten emails reviewed by Reuters, Hong Kong bookseller Lee Bo said he feared a missing colleague had been taken by agents from China for “political reasons”. Lee himself went missing in December, weeks after he sent the emails to the daughter of his colleague, Gui Minhai, who is still being held in China. “We fear that he (Gui) was taken by special agents from China for political reasons,” Lee said in one of the emails dated 10 November. Lee said on Chinese television last week that he had not been kidnapped but had sneaked into China illegally to help with an investigation. http://reut.rs/24PKFna

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.