On December 10, 2014, the world celebrates International Human Rights Day. But for the families of the disappeared in the Philippines, there is very little to celebrate. Hundreds of victims of enforced disappearance from previous regimes remain disappeared. Perpetrators have yet to be brought to justice. And now, under the current Aquino regime, the atrocity that is enforced disappearance still persists with no end in sight.
Sixty-six years ago today, the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, a common standard for all peoples and nations to achieve and enjoy in terms of their civil, political, economic, social, and cultural rights. Since then, nine human rights treaties have been adopted and ratified by many States Parties to make human rights claims legally binding and enforceable.
The International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance (CAED), which entered into force on 23 December 2010 is one of these nine treaties where a new right is recognized:
The Right Not to be Disappeared. As of 12 September 2014, the Committee on Enforced Disappearance reported that this treaty has 43 States Parties and 94 signatories. In Asia, only Cambodia, Iraq and Japan ratified the Convention while Laos, Lebanon, Mongolia and Thailand signed it. Of these said Asian States Parties, only Japan recognized the competence of the UN Committee on Enforced Disappearances in terms of inter-state complaints.
10th December is universally recognised as International Human Rights Day. International Human Rights Day is being observed worldwide at a time when incidents of human rights violations in Bangladesh have reached an alarming level. The Awami League resumed power through controversial Parliamentary Elections on January 5, 2014 that most major political parties boycotted; and a very small percentage of people voted at. The January 2014 Parliamentary Elections are generally believed to be bereft of the peoples’ mandate. 153 candidates from the ruling Awami League and its alliance were elected unopposed out of a total of 300 constituencies even before the elections were held. An Election Commission- that was made subservient by selecting election commissioners through a selection committeeconducted the elections.