The struggle against the evilest of acts begins with its proper naming.
Asian peoples throughout history have been under attack by the very institution that is sworn to protect them: the government. Their history would show that enforced disappearances are not a result of isolated misconducts of State actors—but are practiced in a manner that is systematic and are committed with impunity. Enforced disappearances continue to be among the many vile acts that are designed to terrorize them into silence and submission in the face of a flawed justice system.
The 2015 report of the United Nations Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances states that enforced disappearances are committed in 88 countries, wherein 43,563 cases are outstanding. Perpetrated by agents of States who are sworn to protect human rights, enforced disappearance has reached a global magnitude causing untold devastation on the lives of the disappeared, their families and society. “Everyday is filled with emptiness, sadness and grief,” laments a Belarusian wife of a disappeared and echoed by many others.
Odhikar believes that ‘democracy’ is a form of the State and presupposes that freedom and human rights are its foundations. Democracy is not merely a process of electing a ruler. Democracy is the result of the peoples’ struggle for inalienable rights, which become the fundamental premise to constitute the State defining collective aspirations and responsibilities. Therefore, the individual freedoms and democratic aspirations of the citizens – and consequently, peoples’ collective rights and responsibilities - must be the foundational principles of the State.
19 February 2016, Manila, Philippines — The Asian Federation Against Involuntary Disappearances (AFAD) strongly condemns the recent arrest of 12 Human Rights Defenders and conflict victims, which occurred this morning at around 8.30AM in Baluwatar, Kathmandu and asks for their immediate release. On the occasion of the 66th National Democracy Day of Nepal, the Prime Minister of Nepal was expected to deliver a speech during the ceremony at the Nepalese Army Pavilion in Kathmandu where also the President and other high level officers of Nepal were attending the event.