Every year on this day, August 30, we commemorate the International Day of the Victims of Enforced Disappearances. Established by the UN in 2011 as a way of keeping track of our progress as a global community and humanity in putting an end to this most despicable of human rights violations. It is a way of monitoring our respective governments’ efforts to eliminate this macabre crime against humanity.
The mandate of the UN body is not to be an observer, but rather to propose solutions and actions for change to stop this crime. Sadly, the UN is a failure in this regard. Military governments continue the practice of state terrorism and enforced disappearances against the population, a practice that has continued under “democratically elected” governments.
Hundreds of thousands of people have disappeared during conflicts or periods of repression in more than 85 countries around the world, including the Philippines, Sri Lanka, Iran and Burma in Asia and Mexico, El Salvador, Guatemala, the Dominican Republic, Colombia, Peru, Argentina, Uruguay, Bolivia, Chile, and Paraguay in Latin America.
This systematized technique was introduced into Latin America and in other regions of the world by military dictatorships to serve the interests of North American imperialism, as a mechanism of repression in the face of the advance of the revolutionary processes that sought the emancipation and autonomy of our peoples.
In Guatemala it was brutally widespread, topping 45,000 disappeared during the armed conflict, making it the country with the highest number of crimes of this nature.
Argentina registered more than 30,000 disappearances. We appreciate the hard work of the mothers and grandmothers of the Plaza de Mayo who have tirelessly searched for their loved ones.
The practice of forced disappearances is not over yet. We can cite the abducted and disappeared 43 male students from Ayotzinapa, Mexico, with similar cases in Colombia, Peru, Argentina and Colombia and many more in Asia make it clear the practice continues. The emergence of far-right governments threaten to intensify and make full use of this practice to keep themselves in power.
In the Philippines, in the context of the government’s counterinsurgency strategy, hundreds have disappeared with not a case resolved to this day. While the Philippine government enacted Republic Act 10353, a domestic law that criminalizes enforced disappearances, its implementation leaves much to be desired.
This vicious practise is continuing under the Duterte administration’s brutal war on drugs and counterinsurgency campaigns. The recently enacted “Anti-Terrorism Law”, which has been opposed by the activists, opposition and the country’s legal luminaries, has practically given the go signal for state security forces to abduct individuals on the vaguest suspicion of being a “terrorist”, under the pretext of defending the country against terrorism.
The International League of Peoples’ Struggle, through Commission 3 which addresses human rights issues, ratifies its solidarity, commitment and support to the resolution approved at the 6th ILPS Assembly held in Hong Kong to:
“Support and express solidarity in the application of Law 3590 in Guatemala, which requires the creation of a National Commission for the Search of Disappeared Persons, and continue to demand justice and reparation for the victims.”
On this day we honor the lives of all victims of enforced disappearances in the world. People’s organizations and movements must keep the fight firm to reveal the truth about the genocidal and brutal military policies exercised against humanity.
We call on all freedom-loving peoples of the world to unite in the demand and the search for truth and justice. It is our sacred duty to keep the memory of the struggle of the victims alive.
Neither forgiveness nor forgetfulness, we demand justice now!
Because they were taken alive, we want them back alive!
Punishment of those responsible for the enforced disappearances!
Commission 3 International League of People’s Struggle.
International League of Peoples’ Struggle – Provisional Committee of Latin America and the Caribbean (ILPS-LA and C).