Daily World News Digest, 9 September 2015

IOM monitors migrant arrivals, deaths in Italy, Greece and Spain 

IOM issued a statement today saying that its Missing Migrants Project had recorded 58 new fatalities at sea since noon Friday, 4 September. One was of an infant in Greek waters; two more deaths were reported in the Western Mediterranean near the Straits of Gibraltar, and the remainder between North Africa and Sicily, off the coast of Libya. IOM pegs total deaths of migrants bound for Europe by sea today at 2,760, or over 500 more than were recorded on those same routes at this time in 2014. http://bit.ly/1VKKd47

Jammu and Kashmir report cites torture, extra-judicial killings and enforced disappearances 

The Hindu, a daily from India, reported today that a new report on “institutionalized impunity and violence” in Jammu and Kashmir has named 972 alleged perpetrators of violence during counter-insurgency operations over the past 25 years. The report, “Structures of Violence: The Indian State in Jammu and Kashmir”, is based on information gathered through the Right to Information Act and witness testimonies. The report documents 333 cases of torture, sexual violence, extra-judicial killings and enforced disappearances. The 972 “agents of violence” include 464 army and police personnel from Jammu and Kashmir (58), paramilitary persons (161) and government gunmen (189). In the list are a Major General, 7 Brigadiers, 31 Colonels, 4 Lt. Colonels, 115 Majors and 40 captains. Similarly, 54 senior officials of the paramilitary forces are named. The report, to be released in Srinagar, capital of Jammu and Kashmir, on Wednesday, comes a few days after life sentences were confirmed for six Army personnel found guilty of the unlawful killing of three men in Jammu and Kashmir in 2010. http://bit.ly/1iwcrRC

Commission on Missing Persons in Pakistan investigating 150 missing workers

The Nation, a daily from Pakistan, reported on 8 September that the Commission on Missing Persons is investigating missing workers cases of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM), according to Commission head Justice Javed Iqbal. MQM is the fourth largest party in Pakistan’s National Assembly. Although the MQM’s claim that 150 of its workers are missing has been dismissed by the Pakistan Muslim League government, the Commission on Missing Persons has separately probed nearly 75 percent of these cases. The Commission started work two months ago at the request of the UN Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearance to ascertain the genuineness of the cases. Senior MQM members say the workers have been missing for two years. The Commission on Missing Persons is also dealing with around 1300 cases from different areas of the country. http://bit.ly/1UEXSHn 

No news of Zimbabwean activist 6 months on

Human Rights Watch issued a statement on 8 September saying that six months after Zimbabwean human rights activist Itai Dzamara was abducted – taken by five armed men in civilian clothes near his home in Harare on 9 March, there is still no news on his whereabouts or fate. Senior government officials have denied any state involvement, but in the months prior to his apparent enforced disappearance, Dzamara had petitioned President Robert Mugabe to resign and to allow fresh elections. He called for reforms to the electoral system. On several occasions, state security agents beat, and arbitrarily arrested and detained him. Dzamara has become a symbol of the struggle for human rights and democracy in Zimbabwe, HRW said. Activists, opposition political leaders, and ordinary Zimbabweans have voiced solidarity with him and his family and are calling for Dzamara’s safe return and for those responsible for his abduction to face justice. The police have not conducted a serious investigation into his disappearance. Moreover, other activists, such as Jestina Mukoko, have been abducted in a similar manner by men in civilian clothes who were later revealed to be state security agents. HRW and Amnesty International have called on President Mugabe to set up an independent national commission to investigate the abduction, and for the commission’s findings to be made public. http://bit.ly/1NoXqOz

Court orders removal of Pakistani activists from travel restriction list 

The Nation, a daily from Pakistan, reported on 8 September that the Sindh High Court has ordered that the names of the leaders of Voice for Baloch Missing persons, Mama Qadeer and Farzana Majeed, be removed from the Exit Control List (ECL), which lists people who are prohibited from leaving Pakistan. The Defense argued that Mama Qadeer is a peaceful and law abiding citizen who was prevented from taking an international flight in March last year without any explanation. In the application it was stated that Mama Qadeer and Farzana Majeed raise their voices for the rights of missing persons but this does not mean that they are against the state. http://bit.ly/1LigRCE

Rights groups condemn death sentences against innocent youth in Egypt

Ikhwan Web, the official news portal of Egypt’s Muslim Bortherhood, reported on 8 September that a “Stop Egypt Executions” campaign condemns a court decision on Monday confirming death sentences against nine young men from Dakahlia (northeast of Cairo). Campaigners claim that the entire process lacked all fair trial standards and failed to achieve justice or apply the law. Like all previous “death penalty” cases in Egypt in recent months, the accused were allowed no defense or testimony, activists said. According to their families, the defendants were subjected to enforced disappearance for several days during which they suffered the most extreme forms of torture, until the interior ministry extracted “confessions” from some of them. Activists are calling for a review of the judicial process in Egypt and are urging the government to “stop systematic killings disguised as death sentences“. http://bit.ly/1UzLeyQ

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.