The United Nations International Day of the Victims of Enforced Disappearances will be observed today in Bangladesh and elsewhere in the world. Different rights groups and socio-political organisations will observe the day with a call on the government to ratify the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance which came into effect in 2006. Forty member-states have already ratified the convention. On December 21, 2010, the United Nations General Assembly expressed its deep concern over the increase in the incidents of enforced or involuntary disappearance in various regions of the world amid the growing number of reports concerning harassment, ill-treatment and intimidation of witnesses of disappearances or relatives of persons who have disappeared. The UN General Assembly adopted the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance, and decided to declare August 30 the International Day to be observed beginning in 2011. Since then, rights groups in Bangladesh have been observing the day campaigning for ratification of the international convention as over 200 people, mostly having political backgrounds, disappeared in last seven years. The government, however, denied that incidents of enforced disappearance were taking place in the country. State minister for home affairs Asaduzzaman Khan declined comments when asked why the government seemed unwilling to ratify the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance adopted by the United Nations if it was truly against enforced disappearance. To mark the day, the Moulik Odhikar Surakkha Committee, a platform of citizens campaigning for upholding human rights, will hold a conference at the National Press Club, a press statement said. A number of families of the victims of enforced disappearance will also join the day-long conference titled ’Appeal of relatives: no more enforced disappearance, killing and abduction.’ The Asian Legal Resource Centre in an emailed statement said justice had not been done to the victims of enforced disappearance in Bangladesh. ‘The families of victims of enforced disappearance are being denied access to the complaint mechanism whenever allegations are brought against the agents of the state,’ it said, adding, ‘The police refuse to register such complaints.’ The ALRC urged the United Nations Human Rights Council to hold Bangladesh accountable before the international community for its failure to provide remedies to victims and families of victims of enforced disappearance. Rights organisation Odhikar stated that 150 people, mostly from political backgrounds, fell victim to enforced disappearance between January 2009 and August 2014. Bangladesh Nationalist Party and its allies will hold rallies marking the day and protesting at the continued disappearance of their activists. On the occasion, the Asian Federation Against Involuntary Disappearances called on Asian peoples to act now and be part of the movement to end the practice of enforced disappearance. ‘Overcoming the obstacles to truth and justice and the overall movement towards a world without disappearance lies in the hands of Asian peoples,’ AFAD said.
Source: New Age