Against Involuntary

Published: 00:05, Nov 14,2017 | Updated: 00:50, Nov 14,2017

ENFORCED disappearances coming to be a dominant feature is gravely concerning. At least six people disappeared from Gulshan, Khilgaon and Agargaon in the capital city in November 5–8. Rights group Odhikar, as New Age reported on Monday, comes up with a figure of 402 people going missing between January 2009 and October 2017. There were two cases of enforced disappearances reported in 2009, 18 in 2010, 31 in 2011, 26 in 2012, 54 in 2013, 39 in 2014, 66 in 2015, 91 in 2016 and 74 in the first 10 months of 2017, as the rights group puts its statistics based on such incidents reported in national newspapers. Fifty-two of them were later found dead, 198 could be traced or were shown arrested and 152 still remain untraced. And 36 of such people went missing only in 2017. Another rights group, Ain O Salish Kendra, comes up with a figure of 202 for enforced disappearances between January 2015 and September 2017. But people cannot simply disappear. Someone somewhere should know what has happened to them. Odhikar says at the Rapid Action Battalion and the police picked up 80 per cent of the 402 people who disappeared; in the remaining cases, as the rights group puts it, there are ‘law enforcement agencies’ and ‘people from the government’ involved.

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Press Release: 2nd November, 2017 

SHRC Orders Government to Investigate 2080 unmarked graves and 
mass graves of Poonch and Rajouri districts 

Association of Parent of Disappeared Persons (APDP) welcomes the recent 24th October, 2017 order of State Human Rights Commission [SHRC] regarding the existence of unmarked and mass graves in Jammu and Kashmir. On 24th October 2017, in response to a petition filed by APDP regarding the presence of 3844 [Poonch with 2717 Graves and Rajouri with 1127] unmarked graves in Poonch and Rajouri Districts of Jammu and Kashmir, SHRC in its order once again acknowledged the presence of unknown, unmarked and mass graves in Jammu and Kashmir and has directed the government for a comprehensive investigation including DNA [Deoxyribonucleic Acid] Testing, Carbon dating and other forensic techniques.

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The Asian Federation Against Enforced Disappearance (AFAD) expresses its utter dismay that the case against the alleged abductor of forced disappeared victim Jonas Burgos lost in the lower court.  This is a travesty of justice and a manifestation of the longstanding culture of impunity that is deeply embedded in Philippine society. The 9-page decision penned  by Presiding Judge Alfonso C. Ruiz of the Quezon City Regional Trial Court (QCRTC), Branch 216, absolved  Major Harry Baliaga Jr. of the crime of arbitrary detention of activist Jonas Burgos. This absolution passed despite the presence of a witness who identified Baliaga as the abductor of Jonas in a restaurant inside a Quezon City Mall, as well as other circumstantial evidence that connected the former to the abduction of the latter.

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