On the International Day of the Disappeared, the human rights organisation Odhikar urges the Government of Bangladesh to accede to the International Convention of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance that has been signed by 88 countries and ratified by 29. The Convention was adopted in 2006 by the United Nations General Assembly and came into force on 23 December 2010. This is regarded as one of the major achievements for the protection of the human rights of people around the world. Odhikar also calls upon all other States to join this important international mechanism.
‘Enforced disappearance’ is particularly a heinous violation of human rights and an international crime. It affects victims in many different ways, including constant fear for their lives and their near and dear ones go through an emotional rollercoaster of hope and despair, hoping and waiting for news that might never come. The disappeared person is removed from the protection of law, a fundamental right.
One of the purposes of enforced disappearance is to create fear and to eliminate the victim or dehumanise him/her. Odhikar notes with deep concern the increased incidents of disappearances that have occurred. In 2010, the total recorded number of reported incidents of disappearances were 17 while in the first eight months of this year, it has documented 15 incidents of disappearances already. According to Odhikar, this cannot be allowed to go on unchecked.
Odhikar demands that the Government of Bangladesh thoroughly investigate each reported incident of disappearance speedily and efficiently; put in place a directive that security forces operate within the Constitution and the laws; and responsible organisations and individuals be identified, investigated and prosecuted. Only through rigorous and impartial enforcement of law can the crime of disappearance be addressed. Odhikar further demands, that the families of those missing are regularly informed about the process to locate and recover the disappeared person, and that they should be adequately compensated for their pain and suffering.
Odhikar reiterate its call for an immediate accession to the International Convention of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance and immediately put in place measures that no person is made to disappear against his/her will.
DR. C R Abrar
Adilur Rahman Khan