[30-Nov-2021 14:00:43 UTC] PHP Fatal error: Uncaught Error: Class 'WP_Widget' not found in /home/alrc/public_html/justasia/wp-content/plugins/wp-file-upload/lib/wfu_widget.php:3 Stack trace: #0 {main} thrown in /home/alrc/public_html/justasia/wp-content/plugins/wp-file-upload/lib/wfu_widget.php on line 3 [30-Nov-2021 14:00:45 UTC] PHP Fatal error: Uncaught Error: Call to undefined function site_url() in /home/alrc/public_html/justasia/wp-content/plugins/wp-file-upload/lib/wfu_constants.php:3 Stack trace: #0 {main} thrown in /home/alrc/public_html/justasia/wp-content/plugins/wp-file-upload/lib/wfu_constants.php on line 3 AHRC TV: JUST ASIA, Episode 136 marks International Day of Victims of Enforced Disappearance

AHRC TV: JUST ASIA, Episode 136 marks International Day of Victims of Enforced Disappearance

This week Just Asia marks the International Day of Victims of Enforced Disappearance, August 30, by looking at the situation of disappearances around Asia. Enforced disappearances are frequently used to terrorise individuals, communities and societies.

Pakistan is notorious for widespread enforced disappearances, with state agents finding it an easy way to keep persons in their custody indefinitely, torture and kill them without any evidence. Since 2001 the higher courts have failed to recover missing persons; the military and other institutions, accused of enforcing the disappearances, have arrogantly refused to obey court orders. To learn more, JUST ASIA interviews Mr. Baseer Naweed Senior Researcher at the Asian Human Rights Commission.

Thailand’s National Human Rights Commission reported that more than 37 human rights defenders were extrajudicially killed or forcibly disappeared between 1998-2014. The latest case of enforced disappearance is that of Mr. Den Kamlae, last seen entering a forest to collect food on 16 April 2016. Mr. Den was a land rights defender from the Khok Yao community, Kon San district, Chaiyaphum province. According to the Dublin based rights group Front Line Defenders, “It remains unclear who is responsible for Den’s abduction, but the government must be held accountable for its apathy towards disappearances and killings of land rights defenders in Thailand.”

Moving to Indonesia, in the second year of President Joko Widodo’s administration, nothing has been done to resolve the large number of enforced disappearance cases from the Suharto era. While the parliament has recommended that an ad hoc human rights court be established to look into the case of enforced disappearances of student activists from 1997-1998, the President is reluctant to establish the court. Similarly, Indonesia’s Attorney General is reluctant to further investigate and prosecute the cases of disappearances and past rights violations.

Bangladesh sees the continuance of enforced disappearances amidst governmental denial and absence of justice. According to families of the disappeared, seeking justice for their loved ones requires numerous hurdles. Intelligence agencies threaten relatives for filing complaints, while the police refuse to register complaints naming intelligence or military agencies. Interviews with Dr. Zafullah Chowdhury and Sanjida Islam elaborate.

Nepal’s transitional justice bodies have six months to investigate some 60 000 registered cases of human rights violation, and make recommendations for action. The Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) and the Commission of Investigation on Enforced Disappeared Persons (CIEDP) have to complete their tasks by February 2017. Disappearances have not been criminalized in Nepal however, and the government has yet to sign and ratify the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance.

Moving to the Philippines, the country enacted the Anti-Enforced or Involuntary Disappearance Act in 2012. It was the first country in Asia to have such a law. Despite the law however, involuntary disappearances continue, particularly of those critical of state policies, such as human rights workers, journalists and media persons, environmentalists, indigenous people and lawyers.

In Sri Lanka, the Bill establishing the Office of Missing Persons has been signed. The office of missing persons will trace those disappeared during the war against the Tamil Rebellion and an armed revolt by a radical Marxist group against the government in 1987-89. The Office will also submit recommendations to authorities to take measures on missing persons, protect the rights of missing persons and their relatives, identify channels that missing persons and their relatives can obtain relief from, and inform them of the same. To learn more, JUST ASIA interviews Mr Basil Fernando Director for Policy and Programme Development at the Asian human rights commission.

The bulletin can be watched online at www.alrc.asia/justasia and AHRC TV YouTube. We welcome both human rights feeds to be considered for weekly news bulletin, and your suggestions to improve our news channel. Please write to news@ahrc.asia.

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