Shot by: Candy Diez
Edited by: Mark King Baco
Families of victims of enforced disappearances, through the Asian Federation Against Involuntary Disappearances (AFAD) laud the Indonesian Parliament for the current deliberations towards ratifying the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance (Convention).
"Now that the Convention is being deliberated in the Parliament, I hope that it will not take a long time, because it was even the Parliament that recommended the government in September 2009 to ratify the Convention as soon as possible. The ratification of the Convention will provide legal protection for every citizen from heinous crimes of enforced disappearances in the future," Mugiyanto, the Chairperson of AFAD and IKOHI (an organization of survivors and families of victims), himself a survivor of disappearances in Indonesia in 1998 says.
The Asian Federation Against Involuntary Disappearances (AFAD) calls on the government of the People’s Republic of China to immediately surface Cao Shunli, legal rights activist who was barred by authorities to board her plane to Geneva on the 14 September 2013. She was supposed to attend a UN-sponsored international human rights training as well as participate in the Universal Periodic Review of China scheduled on 22 October.
Cao Shunli’s case is a clear example of enforced disappearance, a violation of the United Nations International Convention for the Protection of All Persons From Enforced Disappearance (ICPAPED). As defined in Article 2 of the Convention, the crime of enforced disappearance happens when a person is arrested, detained, abducted or subjected to other forms of deprivation of liberty by agents of the State followed by a refusal to acknowledge the concealment or whereabouts of the disappeared person, placing the person outside the protection of the law.
September 6 marked the disappearance of the noted human rights activist Jaswant Singh Khalra who was picked up from outside his home in Amritsar, Punjab, in 1995, following his courageous activism around enforced disappearances in Punjab. The Asian Federation Against Involuntary Disappearance (AFAD) recognizes Mr. Khalra’s sacrifice for truth and the tireless efforts of his wife, Mrs. Paramjit Kaur Khalra, and the Khalra Mission Organization for Justice.
Disappearances in Punjab, in northwestern India, remain an unresolved crime and the true scale of disappearances is thus far unknown. In the 1990s, Jaswant Singh Khalra uncovered secret mass cremations in Punjab, estimating over 25,000 such cremations across the state. Almost immediately after his international trip to bring awareness around these cremations, Khalra was himself disappeared and killed. Since then, India’s Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has validated 2,097 secret cremations at just three cremation grounds of Amritsar district alone.