As we commemorate the International Day of the Disappeared this August 30, 2021, we join families, friends, colleagues and compatriots in remembering all the victims of enforced disappearances. Let us make this an opportune time to strengthen our unity in search of the disappeared, in crying out for justice, and in calling for an end to enforced or involuntary disappearance.
It has been 10 years since the United Nations declared August 30 as the International Day of the Disappeared, shortly after the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance was entered into force in December 2010. Also, it will already be 20 years since the UN General Assembly adopted the Declaration of the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance.
We remain firm that putting a stop to enforced disappearance necessitates unity and solidarity, active engagement with more people, support groups, advocates, and even concerned agencies, international bodies and representatives, and militant struggle to speak out and echo our call: Surface the disappeared!
The crime of enforced disappearance remains a policy of imperialist states and fascist puppets in colonies and neo-colonies. At a time of global crisis and pandemic, state forces of military and police use enforced disappearances to stifle dissent, silence protest and sow fear and terror in countries with active and growing people’s resistance.
One of the worst violations to the rights of persons and people of the world, victims of enforced disappearance are wiped out of sight, robbed of their right to security, safety, and freedom of movement, and their activities and existence in society indefinitely ceased. Relatives and colleagues who are left behind are burdened of the seemingly impossible and endless task of searching for the disappeared’s situation and whereabouts.
The crime of enforced disappearance is a continuing violation against individuals, groups of people, communities, and the people of the world. It sends a chilling effect that anyone who protest and is critical of those who hold power and authority may be a victim of enforced disappearance, suffer from torture, and be rendered irrelevant and non-existent.
Those who participate in the search and seek justice are likewise threatened and intimidated, their right to life, freedom and security are violated. Local mechanisms that are supposed to provide relief or legal remedy are inutile in going after the masterminds and perpetrators of enforced disappearances. Impunity is at its worst as abductors, military officials and their minions stay in power, hideously rewarded by states due to their grave crimes, and continue to hold government positions.
Let us then pay attention and extend solidarity to the victims of continuing rights violations and attacks, including enforced disappearances, in the following countries: the hundreds of disappearances under the continuing military junta in Myanmar; thousands of missing amid the conflict in Syria and Pakistan; the threats and surveillance experienced by families and legal counsel of victims of enforced disappearance in Sri Lanka; and cases of enforced disappearances in countries which were under former dictatorships like Philippines, and Mexico, El Salvador, Guatemala, the Dominican Republic, Colombia, Peru, Argentina, Uruguay, Bolivia, Chile, and Paraguay, all in Latin America.