Tuesday, August 30, 2011

International Day of Missing Persons: Amina Masood: The UN

The United Nations marked today [Eid] as the International Day of the victims of enforced disappearance. 2011 is sorrowful for Families of Missing Persons of Pakistan as International Day of the Victims of Enforced Disappearance and Eid fall on consecutive days.

For some, it's the 1st without a family member, for others, the 5th and some, the 10th.

"Enforced Disappearance” is a legal term of international law. It denotes a disappeared or missing person who has been kidnapped and detained illegally by state run institutions, placing them outside the protection of law; the very institutions which are created and constituted to prevent citizens from all atrocities including kidnapping.

It is akin to being robbed by your own watchman.

The perpetrators of this crime not only kidnap people, but harass their families to the point that most of them don’t dare launch a complaint.

More than 1200 families have contacted and registered their cases with Defence of Human Rights. Due to hurdles and lack of enough funds, Defence of Human Rights is representing only 322 cases in Supreme Court. 

Punjab has 174 cases, KPK 96, Balochistan 19, Sindh 25, Azad Jammu Kashmir 7, and Islamabad Capital Territory with 11 cases.

The United Nations Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances asserts:

“Unfortunately, enforced disappearances continue to be used by some States as a tool to deal with situations of conflict or internal unrest. We have also witnessed the use of the so-called ‘short term disappearances,’ where victims are placed in secret detention or unknown locations, outside the protection of the law, before being released weeks or months later, sometimes after having been tortured and without having been brought in front of a judge or other civil authority.

This very worrisome practice, whether it is used to counter terrorism, to fight organized crime or suppress legitimate civil strife demanding democracy, freedom of expression or religion, should be considered as an enforced disappearance and as such adequately investigated, prosecuted and punished.”

On this day, Defence of Human Rights Pakistan needs to draw your attention to thousands of Pakistani families aggrieved for years whose loved ones [brothers, sisters, Fathers, Mothers, husbands, wives, sons, daughters and small children] have been abducted by local and foreign agencies.

Our intention as voice of Missing Persons and their familes are acording to international law, keeping anyone "missing" is illegal.

United Nations convention decalred this as a "crime against humanity."

When a loved one is kept in secret confinement without any contact with or for their family, often for years, it is the worst torture on Earth.

Defence of Human Rights enjoys a unique status in the fight against Enforced Disappearance as an organization created and run by the victim's families. We have been making efforts, and struggling day and night for years to trace our loved ones.

The sufferings and agonies involved in illegal abductions are enormous and must be dealt as priority.

Defence of Human Rights is supported by all factions of the society. The only faction unmoved is the Government of Pakistan.

The need to intensify pressure on the Government of Pakistan demands: 

88 countries have already signed it. We also demand to stop all brutal, inhumane treatments and tortures in jails and secret detentions.

We please to raise this issue in parliament and take measure to ratify the UN's : International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance"  and to legislate proper laws to end this shameful practice.  

We demand that Enforced Disappeared and their families be given rehabilitation, compensation and all the medical and psychological treatment required, provided by the government.

On this occasion, we thank civil society, the lawyer’s community, political parties, groups of civil society, and students for sharing our grief and taking part in our struggle.

We also thank international human right’s associations
for their extraordinary support: 

Amina Masood Janjua, Chairperson, DHRPK
(Campaign for the Release of Missing Persons in Pakistan)
3rd floor Majeed Plaza, Bank Road Rawalpindi Cantt

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