Resolution calling for an end to forced disappearance introduced in US House

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Washington: Two powerful American lawmakers have introduced a resolution in the US House of Representatives that calls for an end to enforced disappearances in Asia and the world and supports justice and accountability for the victims, including Tamils in Sri Lanka and Uyghur Muslims in China.

Introduced by Congressmen Brad Sherman and Jamie Raskin, the House resolution also calls upon the United States to ratify the ‘International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance’.

“These types of human rights abuses cannot go unanswered. We must speak out, work with our allies, and demand accountability for these disappearances and other violations of human rights,” Sherman said.

“As chair of the Sindh Caucus and a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, I have worked tirelessly on this issue; but unfortunately, we have seen a rise in enforced disappearances cases throughout the Asia region. I was proud to work with Congressman Raskin on this resolution and I want to commend his leadership on this important issue,” he said.

Raskin said enforced disappearances were a “serious human rights violation” in Asia and around the world.

The resolution seeks to end this heinous crime, and support justice and accountability for victims and survivors of enforced disappearances, including those carried out against Sindh communities in Pakistan; Tamils and human rights activists in Sri Lanka; victims of the Suharto regime in Indonesia, and Uyghur Muslims in China suffering mass atrocities, it said.

“Communities and families of the disappeared such as Dr Gulshun Abbas, a Uyghur Muslim medical doctor reportedly detained by China in a mass internment camp since 2018 have the right to know the whereabouts and condition of their loved ones,”Raskin said.

“As an Executive Member of the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission and a member of the Sindh Caucus, I will work to ensure the United States stands on the side of human rights and against repressive tactics by authoritarian governments, the lawmaker added.

The resolution has been endorsed by Amnesty International.

In a statement, Andrew Fandino, the senior programme officer for the Individuals at Risk Program at Amnesty International USA, said that enforced disappearances had occurred and continue to occur in every region in the world, and governments have a known duty to put an end to them.

“The fate of people who have been disappeared too often remains unknown, and their loved ones and communities live with the pain of uncertainty. Searching for the truth may put entire families in great danger, and not only leaves relatives living in limbo but affects entire communities and society,” he said.

Relatives of the disappeared, human rights defenders, key witnesses, and lawyers are routinely the targets of enforced disappearances, he said.

“For those who escape death and survive the torture and the constant fear of being killed, the physical and psychological scars remain. This resolution is a vital step forward in the United States to support survivors, call for accountability, and help to ensure that other people are not subjected to enforced disappearance in the future,” Fandino said.

Source/ Courtesy: PTI

 

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