Human Rights Watch: World Report 2015
Human Rights Watch published its 25th Annual Report on 29 January covering more than 90 countries. The 644-page report identified a systemic global threat to human rights cause by a tendency of governments to downgrade human rights protection when faced with serious security challenges. “Human rights violations played a major role in spawning or aggravating many of today’s crises,” HRW Executive Director Kenneth Roth said. “Protecting human rights and ensuring democratic accountability are key to resolving them.” http://bit.ly/1CCBEQl
Serbian Army Chief Accused Over Kosovo Killings
Balkan Insight reported on 29 January that the Humanitarian Law Centre NGO in Belgrade has alleged in a new report published on Thursday that current Serbian Army chief Ljubisa Dikovic was the commander of the 37th Brigade of the Yugoslav Army responsible for attacks on four villages in the Drenica area between 5 April and 27 May 1999, when…
Mexico: Missing students are dead, but many questions remain
The Christian Science Monitor reports today on the reaction of families of the missing to Tuesday’s announcement by the Mexican authorities that all 43 students who disappeared in the southern town of Iguala in September are dead. It notes that the government statement came just one day before the one-year anniversary of the launch of President Enrique Peña Nieto’s anti-kidnapping strategy. The citizen group Stop Kidnapping, part of a government oversight panel on kidnapping, announced on Tuesday that Mexico saw a 30 percent increase in kidnapping cases between 2013 (2,166 cases) and 2014 (2,818 cases). Government figures put the number of kidnappings in Mexico in 2013 at 1,698, and in 2014 at 1,394 – a decrease of about 18 percent. http://bit.ly/1JLGhtP
Mexican President tells nation to ‘move on’ from 43 students
On 28 January Telesurtv.net reported Mexican President Peña Nieto’s statement on…
Adam Boys, Director of Operations at the International Commission on Missing Persons until October this year, has been named in the United Kingdom’s New Year’s Honors List as an Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire. The award recognizes more than 20 years of work in Bosnia and Herzegovina, initially delivering humanitarian aid and subsequently promoting post-war recovery and reconciliation.
“The OBE is a great honor, and I believe it particularly reflects a growing recognition of the importance of the work that ICMP is doing throughout the world to tackle the problem of missing persons in a systematic and effective way,” Boys said.
Boys, who was seriously injured in a car crash while helping to deliver aid in Herzegovina in 1994, served as Chief Financial Officer for the UK’s mission to the International Conference on the Former Yugoslavia in 1995 and 1996….
The treaty signed in Brussels on 15 December granting the International Commission on Missing Persons a new legal basis for global operations “reflects an emerging international recognition of the scale and seriousness of the missing persons problem – and the urgent need to address this problem in a new way,” ICMP Commissioner Knut Vollebæk wrote in a column which appeared in the Norwgian daily newspaper Vårt Land today.
“Till recently there tended to be a view that cases of missing persons are an inevitable byproduct of war and disaster and that as such they can be dealt with through humanitarian and disaster-management strategies,” Commissioner Vollebæk wrote. “However, this perception has been radically altered in the last two decades, as the missing persons problem – in every part of the world – has come to be viewed as systemic.”
Noting that “there is now widespread recognition that this is not first and…
The fact that more than 70 percent of those who went missing during the conflicts in former Yugoslavia have been accounted for shows willingness and determination on the part of countries in the Western Balkans to resolve the missing persons issue, a report issued today concludes.
The Regional Assessment Report on the Process of Resolving the Missing Persons Issue is published by the Regional Coordination of Family Associations of Missing from Former Yugoslavia, which comprises family associations from countries in the region.
“The Report provides a comprehensive and objective overview of results in the search for missing persons in Croatia, Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, and Kosovo,” said Ljiljana Alvir, President of the Regional Coordination Steering Board. She said the report would serve as “a platform for advocacy and lobbying activities of both the Regional Coordination and family associations of the missing.”
Aleksandra Letic, the author of…
The International Commission on Missing Persons, which has been working globally since 2003, will be able to intensify and expand its international operations following the signing of an ICMP treaty by the foreign ministers of the Netherlands, the UK, Sweden, Belgium and Luxembourg, ICMP Director General Kathryne Bomberger said today.
Ms Bomberger was joined at ICMP headquarters in Sarajevo by Dutch Ambassador Jurriaan Kraak (also representing Luxembourg), UK Ambassador Edward Ferguson, Swedish Ambassador Fredrik Schiller and Mr. Jean-Pierre Biebuyck representing Belgium, at a press conference to explain the significance of the treaty, which was signed in Brussels on Monday.
“This agreement reflects a new international awareness of the scale and seriousness of the global missing persons problem,” she said. “And it recognizes the success of ICMP’s approach to this problem – which combines an emphasis on building rule-of-law institutions, fostering civil society engagement and applying modern forensic methods and standards, and utilizing…
The International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) was established in 1996 at a G7 Summit in Lyon, France, to secure the co-operation of governments and other authorities in locating and identifying persons missing as a result of the armed conflicts in the former Yugoslavia. The approach of working together with governments and other authorities, including courts and prosecutors, as well as ensuring the engagement of civil society, has proven to be highly effective. Today, over 70% of those reported missing have been accounted for from the conflicts in the Western Balkans.
ICMP’s mandate and activities were expanded in 2003 to enable the organization to work globally and to respond to cases of manmade and natural disasters. Subsequently, since 2004, ICMP has assisted countries around the world in addressing missing persons cases from conflict, human rights abuses, manmade and natural disasters, organized crime, human trafficking, migration and other causes.
Countries outside the…
The case of the 43 abducted Mexican students has drawn the world’s attention to the issue of enforced disappearances. Yet the Mexican case is no more than a microcosm of a global problem – an epidemic of missing persons has arisen from the conflicts in Syria and Iraq, from the effects of migration in Asia and the Americas, and from the continuing political and social upheavals across Africa, to cite just a few instances.
This is a global problem and it demands a global response.
Part of this global response was put in place on 15 December in the form of an international agreement signed in Brussels by the foreign ministers of the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, Belgium, Luxembourg and Sweden. The Agreement establishes the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) as a treaty-based international organization in its own right with its own structure of governance and international capacities.
ICMP is designated…
The Foreign Ministers of the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, Sweden, Belgium, and Luxembourg signed a Framework Agreement on 15 December that grants a new legal status to the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP).
“This Agreement reflects a new international consensus on the issue of missing persons,” ICMP Director-General Kathryne Bomberger said immediately after the signing ceremony. “For decades the problem of missing persons has been treated as a humanitarian issue, or as a disaster-relief issue, or as a war-emergency issue – but it is now recognized as a systemic global challenge that demands a coherent and effective global response.”
Ms. Bomberger said the Agreement gives ICMP the tools it needs in order to remain at the forefront of this global response. “ICMP has been operating around the world for more than a decade: this Treaty means we can spearhead new initiatives in a way that is consistent with and supportive…
Resolving missing persons cases in Bosnia and Herzegovina – even after two decades – is a central and indispensable element in establishing a just and sustainable society, participants at an International Human Rights Day demonstration on behalf of the Missing said.
The Forum on Joint Memorialization of Missing Persons, which brings together representatives of Family Associations and other activists from across Bosnia and Herzegovina, organized a “silhouette of missing persons” event in Sarajevo on 10 December.
“It’s important that families of the missing mark International Human Rights Day, because we have experienced the disappearance of loved ones and we have become their voice. We have to fight for their right to a dignified burial, for their identity,” said Adis Hukanovic, a representative of the Forum. “By making this peaceful walk on International Human Rights Day we want to express our dissatisfaction with the general situation when it comes to finding and…