Daily World News Digest, 26 February 2015

Human rights decline in Myanmar

The Asia Times reports today that Amnesty International’s 2014 Annual Report noted a decline in human rights standards in Myanmar despite ongoing reforms. In addition to continuing violence against the ethnic Muslim Rohingya population, Amnesty noted that President Thein Sein has failed to keep his promise to release the country’s remaining prisoners of conscience. The same report cited Amnesty’s assessment that in Vietnam, at least 60 prisoners of conscience remained jailed in harsh conditions following “unfair trials,”, while new trials and arrests took place. http://bit.ly/1DVWmeX

UK’s ‘evasion and denial’ criticized in Amnesty Report

The Daily Mail reported on 25 February that Amnesty International’s 2014 Annual Report criticizes the UK Government for its ‘evasion, denial and delays’ over establishing the truth about Britain’s complicity in torture. There had been ‘no significant progress in holding those responsible to account’, Amnesty said. Those detained under a CIA program made…

Daily World News Digest, 25 February 2015

A Camp to Find Missing People and Identify Bodies

The Times of India reports today that ten police units in the Pune area were scheduled to take part in a course on Wednesday and Thursday designed to develop capacity for locating and identifying missing persons. Police Superintendent Manoj Lohiya said the aim was to identify murder victims by learning how to connect information from different sources, for example when a missing person is reported in one district and a murder victim is found in another. Pune police failed to detect 3,344 missing persons in 2014 and 230 in 2015. http://bit.ly/1wnicav

Row in South Africa over Bodies of Nigeria Church Victims

NewVision News reported on 24 February that a row has erupted in South Africa over the identity of one of the bodies of dozens of South Africans who were killed in the collapse of a Nigerian church building last year. One…

Daily World News Digest, 24 February 2015

Kosovo’s Thaci criticized for genocide suit threat

BalkanInsight reported on 23 February that Kosovo Foreign Minister Hashim Thaci has come under criticism for saying at the weekend that Kosovo is considering suing Serbia for genocide committed during the 1998-99 conflict. “Serbia definitely committed genocide in Kosovo. We have evidence, we have testimony and the entire world knows,” he told Turkish news agency Anadolu. Thaci, who is also the deputy prime minister, said that Pristina would apply to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) after evaluating “internal and international circumstances”. This month the ICJ rejected claims by both Croatia and Serbia, who were accusing each other of genocide during the 1991-95 war. http://bit.ly/1wj1Z68

UK: Amend Modern Slavery Bill

The UK House of Lords should amend the Modern Slavery Bill to restore the right for migrant domestic workers to change employers, Human Rights Watch and the UK charity Kalayaan said today in a…

Daily World News Digest, 23 February 2015


New Sri Lanka prime minister vows to free ‘disappeared’

The Australian newspaper carries an interview today with the new Prime Minister of Sri Lanka, Ranil Wickremesinghe, who says that persons detained in Sri Lanka under the Prevention of Terrorism Act may soon be released. The Prime Minister said his government had demanded a full list of detainees from all security agencies. He said provision would be made for reparations to be paid to families of deceased detainees. Mr Wickremesinghe said the number of people to be released is likely to be in the hundreds. http://bit.ly/1DNhrYV

Ukraine truce opens way to address issue of combatants missing in action

The Russia Today TV station reported on 22 February that 1,500 Ukrainian soldiers have been listed as missing in action and that the Ukrainian authorities are proposing to launch a DNA identification process after collecting samples from family members. To date, 52 PoW have…

Daily World News Digest, 20 February 2015

UN rights chief calls on Syria to release detainees

The United Nations released a statement by High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein on 19 February calling on Syrian authorities to release all those held by Government forces and militias, without due process, in some cases for years on end. The High Commissioner noted that activists, lawyers and human rights defenders have been particularly targeted, adding that “in many cases, people are held incommunicado for weeks or months, in particular by Political Security, State Security, Military Security and Air Force Intelligence branches.” http://bit.ly/1FBCUGj

Tamils call for Sri Lanka paramilitary leader to face justice

The Tamil Guardian reported on 19 February that Tamils in the eastern town of Ampara protested on Wednesday demanding that the Tamil paramilitary leader, K Pushpakumar (alias. Iniya Bharathi), should face justice for crimes he is alleged to have committed when he was the regional head…

Daily World News Digest, 19 February 2015

French appeals court blocks torture suspect’s extradition to Argentina

Radio France Internationale reported on 18 February that France’s top appeals court has ruled against extraditing a former Argentine police officer wanted for alleged torture, kidnapping and murder under the country’s military dictatorship in the 1970s. The Cour de Cassation overturned a decision by another court last year approving the extradition of Mario Alfredo Sandoval but it ordered the case against him to be reexamined. Sandoval, who obtained French nationality in the 1980s, is wanted for the 1976 kidnapping of student Hernan Abriata, who was never seen again, and a number of other cases of opponents of the then-ruling junta who disappeared. http://rfi.my/1Jr3Mvs

Missing persons’ families protest in Sri Lanka

The Tamilnet web portal reported on 18 February that family members of missing persons staged a day-long fast in the eastern town of Batticaloa city on Monday carrying the clothes and photographs…

Daily World News Digest, 18 February 2015

Iraqi women trafficked into sexual slavery

India’s Zeenews reports on a statement issued in London today by Minority Rights Group International and the Ceasefire Centre for Civilian Rights, which says that up to 10,000 women and girls in Iraq have been abducted or trafficked for sexual slavery, prostitution or ransom. The authors of a report issued by the two groups say trafficking in Iraq has “mushroomed” in recent years and that Islamic State (IS) has become a major actor in the buying and selling of girls, though IS “is not the first group to be involved in abducting and trafficking women.” http://bit.ly/1DpjjZ5

Egypt’s Copts still seeking work in Libya, despite IS beheadings

The Huffington Post UK reported on 16 February that Egyptian Coptic Christians are still seeking work in Libya despite the risks from IS militants. It cited a BBC report from the town where 13 of the 21 Egyptians recently…

Authorities Must Be Actively Engaged

2014 12 04 STR Cover

Banja Luka, 17 February 2015: The authorities in Bosnia and Herzegovina have to engage more actively in the process of accounting for missing persons, speakers at a Town Hall meeting organized in Banja Luka by the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) said today.

“The state of BiH is still not showing sufficient effort in providing a solution for this joint problem,” said Milutin Misic, a member of the collegium of directors of the BiH Missing Persons Institute (MPI). “There must be state accountability. One of the obstacles in the process of search and identification is a lack of information – the problem lies in the fact that those who are obliged to give information are not providing it, even though they are legally obliged to do so.”

The meeting brought together representatives of associations of families of missing persons, the MPI, the BiH Prosecutor’s Office, and the BiH Ministry for…

Daily World News Digest, 17 February 2015

Sri Lanka UN war crimes report delayed until September

The BBC reported on 17 February a UN announcement that the publication of a long-awaited report into alleged atrocities committed in the final stage of Sri Lanka’s civil war has been delayed until September. The administration of incoming Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena has undertaken to cooperate “on a whole range of human rights issues” and has asked for more time to prepare for the release of the report, which was due to have been published next month. UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein welcomed the delay, saying that it is possible that “important new information” could emerge in relation to the report. http://bbc.in/1v8XwlG

Gunmen kill Mexican activist searching for the Disappeared

Venezuela’s Telesur media group reported on 16 February that a Mexican woman belonging to a group of activists searching for disappeared relatives was murdered on Friday…

Daily World News Digest, 16 February 2015

More than 2,000 migrants from Libya rescued by Italian coastguard

Agence France-Presse reports today that the Italian coastguard launched a massive operation on Sunday to rescue more than 2,000 migrants in difficulty between the Italian island of Lampedusa and the Libyan coast, according to local media. Some 2,164 migrants coming from Libya had to be saved from a dozen boats, Italian media reported, citing the country’s emergency services. Last year, more than 3,200 people died while attempting to reach Italy by boat from North Africa. The United Nations has described the sea crossing as the most dangerous route in the world. http://bit.ly/1Dx2fiv

UN commission criticizes Mexico authorities for widespread disappearances

The Jurist website reported on 14 February that the UN Committee on Enforced Disappearances’ report on Mexico, published on 13 February, has found that the authorities are involved in the enforced disappearance of citizens and has called for a probe into…