LAHORE/ISLAMABAD (ENNS) On International Day of the Victims of Enforced Disappearances, the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) reminds the government of its pledge to criminalise enforced disappearances. Not only must this heinous practice be recognised as a distinct, autonomous offence and the perpetrators held strictly accountable, but victims and their families must also be compensated for all they have suffered—in line with the Islamabad High Court’s 2018 ruling, which rightly categorised enforced disappearance as a crime against humanity.
It is a matter of serious concern that many victims remain afraid to seek assistance or publicise their cases for fear of reprisal by the institutions and individuals involved. HRCP has long held that the official data sorely underreports the number of forcibly disappeared persons, which calls into question the effectiveness of the Commission of Enquiry on Enforced Disappearances (COEID).
While victims such as Dr Deen Mohammad from Balochistan have now been missing 11 long years, there is a perturbing pattern of persons who are disappeared forcibly for shorter periods and ‘allowed’ to return—in many cases, having been subjected to torture and successfully warned against continuing their work, whether this refers to nationalist movements, human rights work, or critical journalism.
HRCP demands that the findings of the 2010 judicial commission on enforced disappearances be made public and the COEID be re-hauled as an independent tribunal that is able to deliver justice, not merely enquiries.
On the other side Amina Janjua and Aishah of
Defence of Human Rights Pakistan told that E-Book on enforced disappearances had been compiled to raise the issue of victims.
To pay tribute and commemorate the struggles of the victims , E-Book on Minimum Psychosocial standard to support the families of the Disappeared being launched. Asian Federation Against involuntary Disappearance and Defence of Human Rights have collaborated to achieve an Urdu version of the Minimum Standards.