Lahore:On International Day of the Victims of Enforced Disappearances, the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) said that it reminds the government of its pledge to criminalize enforced disappearances.
“Not only must this heinous practice be recognized as a distinct, autonomous offence and the perpetrators held strictly accountable, but victims and their families must also be compensated for all they have suffered – in line with the Islamabad High Court’s 2018 ruling, which rightly categorized enforced disappearance as a crime against humanity,” HRCP said in a statement issued to media.
It is a matter of serious concern that many victims remain afraid to seek assistance or publicize their cases for fear of reprisal by the institutions and individuals involved.” HRCP has long held that the official data sorely underreports the number of forcibly disappeared persons, which calls into question the effectiveness of the Commission of Enquiry on Enforced Disappearances (COEID).
It said while victims such as Dr Deen Mohammad from Balochistan have now been missing 11 long years, there is a perturbing pattern of persons who are disappeared forcibly for shorter periods and ‘allowed’ to return in many cases, having been subjected to torture and successfully warned against continuing their work, whether this refers to nationalist movements, human rights work, or critical journalism.
HRCP demanded that the findings of the 2010 judicial commission on enforced disappearances be made public and the COEID be re-hauled as an independent tribunal that is able to deliver justice, not merely enquiries.