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AFAD Statement on the International Human Rights Day

December 9, 2011 Leave a comment

10 December 2011

 

Impunity for Enforced Disappearance Must End NOW!

 

Today, as the world commemorates the 63rd International Human Rights Day, the Asian Federation Against Involuntary Disappearances or (AFAD) calls on all governments particularly those in the Asian region to stop enforced disappearance and to end impunity.

Enforced disappearance is considered one of the cruelest human rights transgression. It is a multiple and continuous violation of the basic human rights not only of the direct victims but also of their families and the greater society. It inflicts untold sufferings to the victims who are forcibly taken by agents of the States and denied access to legal safeguards by removing them from the protection of the law. It causes ill-effects to the victims’ families, not knowing the fate and whereabouts of their loved ones. Mothers, wives, and daughters are usually left without any means to tend their families. In South Asian context, wives of the disappeared are called “half-widows’ who are stripped of legal status to obtain pensions and other means of support.  Children of the disappeared equally suffer. They are deprived of a normal family and a good future. No doubt, enforced disappearance sows fear and terror in society.

Many governments employ this atrocious practice as a tool of state repression and political witch-hunt. It is a major human rights concern of more than 80 countries based on the 2010 report of the UN Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances, a thematic UN body created in 1980 to monitor the incidences of enforced disappearances worldwide. Many cases occur in Asian countries, the continent that submitted the highest number of cases.

The Asian region lacks a strong mechanism for redress.  There are no available domestic laws penalizing disappearance as a separate and autonomous criminal offense. Not only are cases of enforced or involuntary disappearances difficult to investigate and prosecute. They recur with each passing day in many Asian countries. Perpetrators can easily walk away from criminal accountability.
Efforts by several governments along with families of the disappeared and international human rights organizations have made possible the adoption of the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance in 2006 by the United Nations General Assembly and its consequent entry into force on 23 December 2010. To date, this international human rights instrument has 90 signatories and 30 States Parties.

It is but imperative for all states to accede to the international treaty against enforced disappearances without reservation and immediately adopt effective national laws to abolish this horrendous practice.

While these legal measures and mechanisms may not bring back the disappeared, they can certainly help in finding truth and justice and in preventing cases from happening again. It only takes one small step to have a leap of change.

Ending impunity should both be a demand and a call for unity and action.

For the disappeared and their families, the  63rd anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights will have a deeper meaning through governments’ accession to the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance and the enactment of laws criminalizing disappearances and their full implementation.

Signed and authenticated by:

MUGIYANTO                                                             MARY AILEEN BACALSO

Chairperson                                                                    Secretary-General

Statement of the International Coalition Against Enforced Disappearances (ICAED) to the UN Committee on Enforced Disappearances (CED)

November 11, 2011 Leave a comment

10 November 2011

Mr. Chairperson, Esteemed Members of the Committee, ladies and gentlemen – good afternoon.

 

About ICAED

The International Coalition Against Enforced Disappearances (ICAED) consists of 40 member-organizations from Africa, Europe, the Eurasian Region (Euro-Mediterranean Region, Caucasus and Belarus), Latin America, Asia and the United States. The ICAED includes both international non-governmental human rights organizations and national and regional associations of families of the disappeared which together are united to combat the crime of enforced disappearance and promote truth, justice, reparation, and remembrance for all desaparecidos.

 

ICAED Recommendations to the Committee on Enforced Disappearances

The ICAED strongly welcomes this opportunity to meet the distinguished members of the Committee on Enforced Disappearance (the Committee) on the historic occasion of its inaugural session. The existence of this new treaty body is a source of hope for thousands of relatives of the disappeared people throughout the world. The ICAED considers it essential that the Committee is guaranteed the necessary funding and staffing to carry out its functions in the most effective manner.

The ICAED calls on the Committee to ensure that its rules of procedure and methods of work are drafted in such a way as to ensure that the Committee can effectively carry out its mandate and functions and are accessible to civil society. In this regard, the ICAED urges the Committee to open a participative process in the coming months, in which representatives of civil society are invited to express their views and deliver proposals for the consolidated version of the rules of procedure of the Committee.

The ICAED stresses the crucial importance that will be played by the Committee with regard to the Article 30 urgent intervention procedure. It is essential that the Committee enables the functioning of this procedure as soon as possible, in a manner that ensures that it is both accessible to those representing the disappeared and appropriately coordinated with existing special procedures and other international monitoring bodies.

The ICAED encourages the Committee to establish close cooperation with the Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances, in order to enrich its own work in the light of some 30 years of experience of this Working Group by, for examples, coordinating the schedule and venue of sessions of the Committee with the Working Group and establishing a system of communication between the two bodies.

The ICAED also underscores the crucial importance of country visits that may be undertaken by the Committee. Wherever possible, planned visits should be announced as promptly as possible in order to enable the widest possible participation of civil society. The ICAED calls the attention of the Committee to the grave situations of ongoing and continuing cases of enforced disappearance in the territory of the following States Parties to the Convention: Honduras, Iraq, Mexico, Nigeria, and Tunisia, and urges the Committee to consider country visits among the possible responses of the Committee. In addition, the ICAED stresses the fundamental importance of ensuring a regular system of follow-up on the conclusions and recommendations issued at the end of its missions.

The ICAED urges the Committee to promote the effective implementation of the Convention in the domestic laws of States Parties and urges the Committee to develop guidelines and tools to assist States Parties in this regard. The recently published ICAED member Amnesty International Checklist for Effective Implementation of the Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance is a comprehensive guide for States Parties to implement domestic legislation fully in line with the Convention and other international law standards and may serve as a useful tool to promote ratification and implementation.

The ICAED calls the attention of the Committee to the importance of adopting interpretations of the Convention’s provision that affirm the treaty’s central purpose of ending the practice of enforced disappearance, as well as clarifying the numerous and complex obligations for States Parties that arise from the Convention. For instance, the Committee will be called upon to interpret Article 20 which provides for possible restriction of States Parties’ obligation to provide information about deprivation of liberty when a set of narrowly defined circumstances are met. In order to ensure that this provision is not abused, it is critical that the Committee provides an interpretation of this provision in the light of the spirit and purpose of the Convention. Similarly, the interpretation of the definition of a victim pursuant to Article 24 of the Convention in a comprehensive manner in line with international law standards is an important task of the Committee.

Finally, in the course of its work, the ICAED urges the Committee to pay particular attention to the enforced disappearance of children, including during State Party examinations and country visits.

 

Participating Organizations to the ICAED International Conference on Enforced Disappearances

November 7-9, 2011 Geneva Switzerland

Asian Federation Against Enforced Disappearances (AFAD)
Al-Ata’a for Human Rights Support-Iraq
Amnesty International
Asamblea Permante por los Derechos Humanos – Argentina
Asociación de Familiares de Detenidos-Desaparecidos, Ejecuciones Extrajudiciales y Torturados Huancayo-Junín (AFDDEET) -Peru
Association de Parents et Amis de Disparus au Maroc
Asociación Pro-Búsqueda de Niñas y Niños Desaparecidos de El Salvador
Asociación para la Recuperacion de la Memoria Historia de Catalunya (ARMHC)
Breaking the Wall of Silence-Namibia
Centro de los Derechos Humanos y Talleres Productivos Qatari Panituri-Peru
Colegio de Abogados – Peru
Collectif des Families De Disparus en Algerie
Comision de Derechos Humanos (COMISEDH)-Peru

Comité de Coordination des Familles des Disparus au Maroc (CCFDM)- Morocco
Equipo Peruano de Antropologia Forense – Peru
Federation Internationale de l’ACAT (FIACAT)
Federation Internationale des Droits de l’Homme (FIDH)
Fédération Euroméditérannéenne Contre Les Disparitions forcées (FEMED)
Federación Latinoamericana de Asociaciones de Familiares de Detenidos-Desaparecidos (FEDEFAM)
Families of Victims of Involuntary Disappearance (FIND)
Human Rights Watch
International Commission of Jurists
Jardin des Disparus
Liga Guatemalteca de Higiene Mental – Guatemala
Russian Justice Initiative
Track Impunity Always
Torture Abolition and Support Coalition
Civil Initiative We Remember -Belarus
Zimbabwe Peace Project

Statement of the International Coalition Against Enforced Disappearances (ICAED) for the UN Working Group on Enforced and Involuntary Disappearances (UN WGEID)

November 11, 2011 Leave a comment

10 November 2011

At the conclusion of the three-day conference of the International Coalition Against Enforced Disappearances (ICAED) in Geneva, the Coalition underscored the crucial role the United Nations Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances has played in the global campaign to end enforced disappearances.

It is lamentable that despite the ICAED’s active and steadfast lobby both in the national and international levels for the ratification of the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearances, a significant number of its member-organizations come from countries that have not yet signed much less ratified the Convention.

In this light, the United Nations Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances (WGEID) remains the principal venue where families of the disappeared and organizations dealing with the subject of enforced disappearance can make their voices heard, more particularly concerning individual petitions and general allegations. Accordingly, the ICAED calls on the WGEID to continue discharging its functions even as it strongly urges the United Nations to provide the WGEID with the necessary staffing and resources.

The ICAED encourages the WGEID to closely cooperate with the newly established Committee on Enforced Disappearances and share its 30-year experience and expertise with this new monitoring body for it to adopt best practices that can effectively protect human rights.

The ICAED expresses its appreciation for the recent country visit made by the WGEID to the Republic of the Congo, which now brings the Working Group back to the African continent. Concomitantly, the ICAED stresses that attention to the African continent is most needed, as the rising number of enforced disappearances throughout the continent has become alarming. Under-reporting remains a problem amidst harassments, threats and attacks directed against associations of relatives of the disappeared. Hence, the ongoing monitoring by the WGEID is imperative.

The ICAED encourages the WGEID to continue conducting country-visits which should be announced as promptly as possible, in order to enable the widest possible participation of civil society organizations (CSOs). Moreover, the ICAED stresses the fundamental importance of a regular system of follow through on the conclusions and recommendations issued at the end of each mission.

The ICAED calls on the WGEID to sustain its accessibility to the relatives of the disappeared from all over the world, ensure flexibility of its procedures and take into account the difficulties experienced in the field.

In the light of the overriding importance of the country missions, the ICAED proposes that the WGEID consider modifying formal country visits and working missions. The visit of experts to different countries, even if not in the framework of official country missions, would enable them to formulate meaningful recommendations to governments and pursue fruitful dialogues with local civil society organizations.

The ICAED calls on the WGEID to continue close monitoring of the replies received from governments and to ensure that families of the disappeared, representatives of civil society, and sources of information have the opportunity to express their views on these replies.

The ICAED draws the attention of the WGEID to the specific phenomenon of the enforced disappearance of children, which has its own peculiarities and proposes that the Working Group elaborates on this in a general comment, identifying existing best practices and the responsibilities of governments.

The ICAED congratulates the WGEID for its recent study on the best practices concerning the crime of enforced disappearance in domestic criminal legislation. In this light, the ICAED calls on the WGEID to continue monitoring the enactment of domestic laws that criminalize enforced disappearance as an autonomous offence, in order to ensure compliance with international standards. In the event of non-observance of such norms, it behooves the WGEID to issue concrete recommendations to concerned governments.

The ICAED reiterates its gratitude for the Working Group’s unwavering support to the global struggle to eradicate enforced disappearance even as the Coalition pledges its support to the Working Group in carrying out its mandate.

Participating Organizations to the ICAED International Conference on Enforced Disappearances

November 7-9, 2011

Geneva Switzerland

Asian Federation Against Enforced Disappearances (AFAD)
Al-Ata’a for Human Rights Support-Iraq
Amnesty International
Asamblea Permante por los Derechos Humanos – Argentina
Asociación de Familiares de Detenidos-Desaparecidos, Ejecuciones Extrajudiciales y Torturados Huancayo-Junín (AFDDEET) -Peru
Association de Parents et Amis de Disparus au Maroc
Asociación Pro-Búsqueda de Niñas y Niños Desaparecidos de El Salvador
Asociación para la Recuperacion de la Memoria Historia de Catalunya (ARMHC)
Breaking the Wall of Silence-Namibia
Centro de los Derechos Humanos y Talleres Productivos Qatari Panituri-Peru
Colegio de Abogados – Peru
Collectif des Families De Disparus en Algerie
Comision de Derechos Humanos (COMISEDH)-Peru

Comité de Coordination des Familles des Disparus au Maroc (CCFDM)- Morocco
Equipo Peruano de Antropologia Forense – Peru
Federation Internationale de l’ACAT (FIACAT)
Federation Internationale des Droits de l’Homme (FIDH)
Fédération Euroméditérannéenne Contre Les Disparitions forcées (FEMED)
Federación Latinoamericana de Asociaciones de Familiares de Detenidos-Desaparecidos (FEDEFAM)
Families of Victims of Involuntary Disappearance (FIND)
Human Rights Watch
International Commission of Jurists
Jardin des Disparus
Liga Guatemalteca de Higiene Mental – Guatemala
Russian Justice Initiative
Track Impunity Always
Torture Abolition and Support Coalition
Civil Initiative We Remember -Belarus
Zimbabwe Peace Project

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Conference statement: International Conference on Enforced Disappearances

November 11, 2011 Leave a comment

CONFERENCE STATEMENT

 

International Conference on Enforced Disappearances

Geneva, Switzerland, 7-9 November 2011

 

Organizations of Families from Various Continents

and International NGOs

Gather on the First Meeting of the Committee on Enforced Disappearances

and on the 95th Session of the UN WGEID

We, members and supporters of the International Coalition Against Enforced Disappearances (ICAED) from Africa, Asia, Euro-Asia, Euro-Mediterranean Region, Latin America, North America convened for the first time at the seat of the United Nations (UN) in Geneva, Switzerland on the occasion of the first meeting of the newly established UN Committee on Enforced Disappearances (CED).  The CED is the body of independent experts which monitors the implementation of the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance (The Convention) by the States Parties.

Our gathering, which we considered a high level of solidarity, was also intended to coincide with the 95th session of the United Nations Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances (UN WGEID), which, in its 30 years of working for the clarification of the whereabouts of the disappeared, has supported and continues to support our work.

This historic gathering of the members of the Coalition has provided us with a venue to update ourselves on the phenomenon of enforced disappearance in our respective countries and our common campaign for signatures to and ratifications of the Convention. This is an integral part of the search for truth and justice and of our struggle against impunity.  A very important component of the conference was the re-launching of the program Linking Solidarity through the process of conducting a participatory research on Learning History.

Coming all the way from our respective countries, we share the still on-going and unresolved cases of enforced disappearances. The presentations made us reconfirm that in most of our countries, the heinous crime of enforced disappearance remains unresolved and worse still, persists with each passing day. The multiple violations of the rights wreak immeasurable pain and anxiety to both the disappeared and their surviving families and relatives.

The ICAED laments the resurgence of enforced disappearances across the globe. It expresses deep and special concern on the situation of enforced disappearance in Africa as the number of enforced disappearances throughout the continent remains of high concern. Under-reporting continues to be a problem and associations of relatives of disappeared people are targets of harassment, threats and attacks. The ongoing monitoring of the WGEID and of the CED is therefore of the utmost importance.

The Convention, which was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on 20 December 2006 and had entered into force on 23 December 2010 is a sign of recognition by the United Nations of the global magnitude of the crime.  It is a major victory of the associations and federations of families of the disappeared whose real-life experiences of the consequences of enforced disappearance have been fundamental bases of many of its provisions. To date, the treaty has 90 signatories and 30 States Parties.  Considering the global magnitude of enforced disappearances, much remains to be done in attaining universal implementation of the Convention.

Thus, the Conference deemed it important to chart its plan of action both for internal consolidation and expansion as well as for carrying out its mandate of campaigning for as many signatures and ratifications of the Convention as possible.

To make its international presence visible, the ICAED conducted a side event, entitled:  “Universal Implementation of the International Convention Against Enforced Disappearances:  A Task and a Challenge.”  The Chairpersons of both the UN WGEID and the Committee on Enforced Disappearances (CED) spoke on the imperative of cooperation between the two bodies and their cooperation with members of civil society.  The presence of the Argentinian government in the panel, whose commendable efforts to ensure the Convention’s implementation, is a source of inspiration.

At this juncture, the ICAED expresses its appreciation for the establishment of the Committee on Enforced Disappearance (CED) and calls on the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights to ensure that this new monitoring body is provided with adequate resources and staffing support to carry out its functions in the most effective way. At the same time, the ICAED stresses the importance to continue maintaining an effective WGEID, fully staffed and with sufficient resources as well.  The ICAED believes that the WGEID and the CED have to work in a coordinated manner.

The ICAED emphasizes the importance of both UN bodies.  The ICAED, thus calls on all States to cooperate with and to provide their support to the WGEID as well as to the new CED.

In as much as the ICAED calls for the support of both the WGEID and the CED, it expresses its willingness to contribute its wealth of expertise to the forthcoming exercises concerning the implementation of the Convention as well as the establishment of the jurisprudence of the CED.   It likewise urges both bodies to have an open consultative process including civil society, in particular, families’ organizations for the development of their rules of procedure and working methods.

The ICAED expresses the crucial importance of States to seriously engage in the fight against impunity and enforce by all means their obligation to investigate, prosecute and sanction those responsible for enforced disappearance and serious international crimes.

The ICAED calls on all States to ratify and fully implement the Convention and to recognize the competence of the CED pursuant to Articles 31 and 32 of the Convention and which are systematically included among the criteria applied by the Universal Periodic Review.  It further calls on all States to adopt domestic legislation to criminalize the autonomous offense of enforced disappearance and to ensure the prevention and punishment of this practice.  Corollary to this, the ICAED recommends that States take into consideration the Amnesty International (AI) publication, “No Impunity for Enforced Disappearance: Checklist for the Effective Implementation of the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance” in the drafting of relevant national legislation.

Finally, the ICAED underscores the continuing crime of enforced disappearance for it continues to violate the rights of the victims and to inflict endless sufferings on their families and relatives.  Thus, sustainability of our efforts is deemed important as the theme of this International Conference states: “Linking Our Solidarity; Strengthen Our Unity; Renew Our Commitment Towards the Ratification of the International Treaty Against Enforced Disappearances.”

 

Participating Organizations to the ICAED International Conference on Enforced Disappearances

November 7-9, 2011 Geneva Switzerland

Asian Federation Against Enforced Disappearances (AFAD)
Al-Ata’a for Human Rights Support-Iraq
Amnesty International
Asamblea Permante por los Derechos Humanos – Argentina
Asociación de Familiares de Detenidos-Desaparecidos, Ejecuciones Extrajudiciales y Torturados Huancayo-Junín (AFDDEET) -Peru
Association de Parents et Amis de Disparus au Maroc
Asociación Pro-Búsqueda de Niñas y Niños Desaparecidos de El Salvador
Asociación para la Recuperacion de la Memoria Historia de Catalunya (ARMHC)
Breaking the Wall of Silence-Namibia
Centro de los Derechos Humanos y Talleres Productivos Qatari Panituri-Peru
Colegio de Abogados – Peru
Collectif des Families De Disparus en Algerie
Comision de Derechos Humanos (COMISEDH)-Peru

Comité de Coordination des Familles des Disparus au Maroc (CCFDM)- Morocco
Equipo Peruano de Antropologia Forense – Peru
Federation Internationale de l’ACAT (FIACAT)
Federation Internationale des Droits de l’Homme (FIDH)
Fédération Euroméditérannéenne Contre Les Disparitions forcées (FEMED)
Federación Latinoamericana de Asociaciones de Familiares de Detenidos-Desaparecidos (FEDEFAM)
Families of Victims of Involuntary Disappearance (FIND)
Human Rights Watch
International Commission of Jurists
Jardin des Disparus
Liga Guatemalteca de Higiene Mental – Guatemala
Russian Justice Initiative
Track Impunity Always
Torture Abolition and Support Coalition
Civil Initiative We Remember -Belarus
Zimbabwe Peace Project

 

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AFAD PRESS STATEMENT: Attempts to Destroy Monument of the Disappeared in Sri Lanka, A Grievous Offense Against Victims and Their Families.

October 28, 2011 Leave a comment

AFAD Press Statement
28 October 2011

Attempts to Destroy Monument of the Disappeared, A Grievous Offense Against Victims and Their Families

The Asian Federation Against Involuntary Disappearances (AFAD) joins the Sri Lankan families of the disappeared victims in remembering their loved ones subjected to disappearances during the annual commemoration at the Monument for the Disappeared in Raddoluwa Junction in Seeduwa., Sri Lanka. This year is the 21st commemoration of the Monument.

Between 1987 and 1991, disappearances in Sri Lanka had reached 30,000. These proportions and the failure of the Sri Lankan government to address the alarming occurrence of disappearances and prosecute perpetrators led to the construction of the Monument for the Disappeared in 1991.

The Monument serves as a constant reminder of the atrocities committed by the Sri Lankan government against its own people. For a couple of decades, it has become the place for families to honor their disappeared loved ones – where they grieve, light candles, put flowers and offer prayers. After more than two decades of annual commemorations, the Monument continues to stand as a concrete reminder that the cases of disappearances must not be forgotten. It constantly urges families of victims and the greater society to continue the search for the truth, to pursue justice and to prevent recurrence.

With remembering the victims comes the recognition that disappearances exist and can be committed against anyone. Recent threats of the Raddoluwa parish priest, Rev. Father Prasad Perera to destroy the Monument for the Disappeared showed an alarming picture of the malicious actions to obliterate the memory of the victims. The proposed demolition of the monument is a manifestation of an evil intention to bury the truth and for the Sri Lankan public and the rest of the world to disregard the existence of disappearances in the country.

The attempt to destroy the concrete remembrance of the disappeared victims is a direct insult to the victims and a grievous offense at that. It is an obvious disregard of the reality of the injustice committed against them. It is an affront to the families’ continuing search for truth and justice for the stolen lives of their loved ones.

On this occasion, the AFAD joins the Families of the Disappeared (FOD) and its partner organizations in their resistance against the proposed demolition.

The Monument of the Disappeared should continue to stand as an integral part of the continuing reconstruction of the desaparecidos’ historical memory. With the Monument standing conspicuously, the Sri Lankan people and the rest of the world shall serve as a shadow of the disappeared that would never leave us. As long as the memories of the victims and the violation are remembered, the efforts to attain truth and redress shall not cease. The hope for justice shall remain alive in the hearts of the families left behind.

 

PDF file: http://www.scribd.com/doc/70605261/AFAD-STATEMENT-Attempts-to-Destroy-Monument-of-the-Disappeared

 

Breaking Impunity will end the Legacy of Martial Law: AFAD Statement on the 39th Anniversary of Martial law

September 21, 2011 Leave a comment

21 September 2011

Breaking Impunity will end the Legacy of Martial Law

AFAD Statement on the 39th Anniversary of Martial law

Today, the Asian Federation Against Involuntary Disappearances (AFAD) joins the whole nation in  commemorating of the 39th anniversary of the declaration of Martial Law.

Our manner of commemorating the event is the reiteration of our call to  Pres. Benigno Simeon “Noynoy” Aquino III to learn from the lessons of our history by making human rights its top priority and breaking impunity.

Thirty-nine years since President Ferdinand E. Marcos placed the Philippines under Martial Law through Proclamation No. 1081 which suspended the civil rights and liberties of the Filipino people by imposing military authority in the country. The chilling effects of these dark pages of our history are still felt until today.

Human rights are continuously being violated.    What makes it more disturbing is that violations persist with complete impunity. The Families of Victims of Involuntary Disappearance (FIND) has documented 2,160 victims of enforced disappearance since martial law.  Ten cases have been reported under the present Aquino administration with the military involvement. Unfortunately until now not a single perpetrator has been punished.

The scenarios of warrantless arrests, arbitrary detentions and illegal searches which were common practices during Martial Law are still in effect until today. While the military claims that it already adopted a new security policy called the Oplan Bayanihan, said to be a paradigm shift from the combat-focused approach to a human security or “people-centered” approach, the primacy of military solution is still deeply embedded in the whole institution.   It allows security forces to ignore the fundamental rules of law and due process in the conduct of military operations. The Oplan Bayanihan is just another name of Oplan Bantay Laya (Operation Freedom Watch), the counter-insurgency program of the previous administration which led the military to deliberately target and systematically hunt down leaders of leftist organizations, resulting in hundreds of cases of extrajudicial killings and enforced disappearances in the country.

The disappearance case of a teenager from the Dumagat tribe of the Burdeous Municipality in Quezon province, who was abducted on 23 August 2011 by six armed men pretending to be members of New People’s Army but later revealed to be members of the 202nd Infantry Brigade of the Armed forces of the Philippines and Civilian Volunteers Organization is but one of the recent examples of red hunting. The teenager was held in custody against his will for almost two weeks in the military camp where he was repeatedly interrogated and intimidated. He was later released when his family, with the help of Franciscan missionaries, sought the help of the public to search for him. The military denied abducting the teenager and claimed that he merely availed himself of the government’s social integration program for rebel returnees.

If indeed, the military believes that ‘winning peace” could be achieved through the continuing attack against any individuals or groups perceived to be supporters or members of the insurgent groups through political harassment, vilification campaign and criminalization of political offense, it is doomed to repeat the mistakes of history.

It is a historical truth that when people are suppressed, they learn to fight back. This reality was what ignited the people to struggle against the dictator which inevitably paved the road to EDSA, including the martyrdom of the late Sen. Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino and assumption to power of the late Pres. Corazon C. Aquino.

PNoy should keep his name as a symbol of democracy.  As the new commander-in-chief, he is duty bound to lead his Armed Forces in performing its inherent obligation as the protector of the people. He has in his hands the opportunity to learn from the difficult lessons of the dark years of martial rule by guaranteeing human rights protection and accountability.

When he said during his State of the Nation Address (SONA) that reconciliation can only be achieved when justice is rendered, this should not mean buying to the idea of giving military honor to the late dictator and promising the compensation for victims of Martial Law. The Marcoses should continue to be held responsible for their crimes against the Filipino people and all others who followed the sinister means to keep themselves in power.

Today,  we pay tribute to those who sacrificed their lives in fighting against the dictator in order for freedom and democracy to live. We will keep their memory alive in our hearts and minds as we continue the struggle for truth, justice, and redress with the resounding voice of commitment, chanting:  “Nunca Mas!” (Never Again!)

Signed and authenticated by:

MUGIYANTO

Chairperson

MARY AILEEN DIEZ-BACALSO

Secretary General

Categories: Statements

Breve Informe Sobre La Situacion de las Desapariciones Forzadas en La Republica Argentina

 BREVE INFORME SOBRE LA SITUACIÓN DE LAS DESAPARICIONES FORZADAS EN LA

REPÚBLICA ARGENTINA

1. Panorama histórico a partir de la dictadura (1976-2011)

 

La detención desaparición de personas que asoló nuestro país antes de la última dictadura militar y, planificada y sistemáticamente, durante su transcurso, y cuyas consecuencias perduran, motivó que brotara un fuerte movimiento argentino de defensa de los derechos humanos cuyo símbolo trascendente son las Madres y Abuelas de Plaza de Mayo y los Familiares de Desaparecidos y Detenidos por Razones Políticas, los tres organismos asociados a FEDEFAM y parte dinámica en su constitución y desarrollo, culminado en diciembre de 2006,  como todos sabemos, por la sanción de la Convención Internacional para la Protección de Todas las Personas contra la Desaparición Forzada.

La búsqueda de Verdad y Justicia dentro y fuera del país, iniciada en la primera ronda de las Madres en la Plaza de Mayo en abril de 1977, no ha cesado. Hoy, a 34 años de distancia, recordamos las distintas etapas de la historia nacional que han permitido diversificar los reclamos sin abandonar jamás los principios fundadores.

1.1.            La lucha contra la impunidad

Los gobiernos constitucionales surgidos a partir de diciembre de 1983 iniciaron algunas medidas de reparación y búsqueda de justicia, como el histórico juicio a los comandantes de las Juntas Militares en 1985 y algunas leyes de reparación  económica y liberación del servicio militar a hijos y hermanos de detenidos desaparecidos. Pero la enorme presión de poderes económico-militar nacionales y transnacionales y, a veces, la falaz ideología de varios gobernantes, motivaron medidas de apoyo a la impunidad, como las leyes alfonsinistas  “de punto final” en 1986 y “de obediencia debida” en 1987 y los indultos menemistas de 1989 y 1990. La fuerza del reclamo anti-impunidad del movimiento de derechos humanos consiguió en 2003 la anulación de esas leyes por el Congreso, que las consideró inconstitucionales, la ratificación de esa inconstitucionalidad por la Corte Suprema de Justicia y, por fin, la declaración de inconstitucionalidad de los indultos por la Corte en agosto de 2010. Puede decirse, por tanto, que hace un año exacto la impunidad encontró su sentencia de muerte.

1.2.            Los juicios con consecuencias penales.

 

Desde 2005 fueron resurgiendo los juicios penales soterrados por la impunidad, a los que se van agregando numerosos procesos nuevos contra los “viejos” crímenes de lesa humanidad. Actualmente, las Madres y familiares no damos abasto para asistir a las audiencias judiciales en el vasto territorio nacional. Falta mucho aún, pero seguimos avanzando en estos procesos penales sin parangón en el mundo, con jueces naturales, en juzgados nacionales y con todas las garantías constitucionales.

Por otra parte, en 13 de abril de 2011 se sancionó por ley la incorporación al Código Penal del delito de desaparición forzada de personas, respetando la definición que da la Convención y asignando penas de 10 a 25 años a los perpetradores, o prisión perpetua en caso de muerte del detenido desaparecido o también si este es mujer embarazada, menor, mayor de 70 años o discapacitado. Lástima que esta ley no pueda aplicarse, según mayoría de los expertos, a los imputados en los juicios de lesa humanidad. Sin embargo, el tema de la imprescriptibilidad seguirá en discusión.

La Secretaría de Derechos Humanos de la Nación, que actúa como querellante en numerosas causas judiciales, registra en agosto de 2011 la cantidad de 237 condenados por delitos de lesa humanidad.

 

1.3.            Estadísticas proporcionadas por el CELS sobre el desarrollo de los Juicios. Julio 2011.

 

Situación procesal actual de los imputados en causas por delitos de lesa humanidad. Marzo de 2011

TOTAL: 1.757

  • Procesados con preventiva: 427
  • Procesados sin preventiva: 344
  • Fallecidos: 276
  • Denunciados: 269
  • Condenados: 187
  • Falta de Mérito: 105
  • Sobreseídos: 46
  • Prófugos: 39
  • Indagados: 27
  • Incapaces: 18
  • Absueltos: 15

Total de causas en movimiento según estado procesal. Julio de 2011

TOTAL: 363

  • En etapa de instrucción: 71% (263)
  • Elevaciones: 12,5 (46)
  • Debates finalizados: 13% (49)
  • Debates en curso: 3,5% (12)

Comparación de sentenciados con el resto de los imputados en condiciones de llegar a juicio. Marzo de 2011

TOTAL: 1.419

  • Sentenciados: 13% (182)
  • Resto de los imputados aptos para llegar a juicio: 87% (1237)

Condición de detención o libertad del total de imputados. Marzo de 2011.

TOTAL: 1.707

  • Libres: 46% (814)
  • Detenidos: 36% (624)
  • Fallecidos: 16% (280)
  • Prófugos 2% (39)

 

Total de detenidos según situación procesal. Marzo de 2011.

TOTAL: 610

  • Procesados: 70% (428)
  • Condenado: 26% (166)
  • Denunciados: 2% (14)
  • Indagado: 2% (15)
  1. 2.                  Números, porcentajes en relación con los detenidos desaparecidos

 

¿Cuántos detenidos desaparecidos hay en la Argentina? La CONADEP –Comisión Nacional sobre la  Desaparición de Personas, creada en 1984- indicó en ese año que había registradas 8.961 personas. Hasta 2003 la Secretaría de Derechos Humanos de la Nación Argentina tenía registrados 13.000 casos. Por otro lado las asociaciones de FEDEFAM siempre declaramos que hay unos 30.000 compañeros detenidos desaparecidos. Esta cifra surgió de los cálculos que el Dr. Emilio Mignone y sus colegas del CELS –Centro de Estudios Legales y Sociales- realizaron en 1978, sin posibilidad de comprobación pero en base a una escala concreta basada en la relación entre cantidad de desaparecidos denunciados y desaparecidos no denunciados en Mercedes, ciudad de unos 60.000 habitantes de la provincia de Buenos Aires.

Pero atención: según documentos desclasificados de archivos de inteligencia norteamericanos, el agente de la DINA chilena y operativo en la Argentina Enrique Arancibia Clavel informó en 1978 al Departamento de Estado que se estimaba el número de desaparecidos en 22.000 personas entre 1975 y julio de 1978. Y sabemos que numerosos detenidos desaparecidos no han sido denunciados por sus familiares por  múltiples razones. El sacerdote canadiense Eloy Roy, por ejemplo, cuando era párroco de Tilcara (provincia de Jujuy), recordaba con frecuencia sus diálogos con familias ancianas residentes en la Quebrada de Humahuaca, que ignoraban por qué sus hijos habían sido llevados por la fuerza y encapuchados por hombres desconocidos. Es probable que la simbólica cifra de 30.000 sea incluso escasa.

La CONADEP indicó también la distribución de los detenidos desaparecidos por profesión u ocupación (en porcentajes):

  • Obreros: 30,2%
  • Estudiantes: 21,0%
  • Empleados: 17,9%
  • Profesionales: 17,8%
  • Docentes: 5,7%
  • Autónomos y varios: 5,0%
  • Amas de casa: 3,8%
  • Personal de Fuerzas de Seguridad: 2,5%
  • Periodistas: 1,6%
  • Actores y artistas: 1,3%
  • Religiosos: 0,3%
  • De 0 a 15 años: 1,65%
  • De 16 a 25 años: 43,23%
  • De 26 a 35 años: 38,16%
  • De 36 a 45 años: 10,13%
  • De 46 a 55 años: 4,25%
  • De 56 a 65 años: 1,92%
  • Más de 66 años: 0,66%
  • En la vía pública: 24,6%
  • El domicilio: 62,0%
  • El trabajo: 7,0%
  • Lugar de estudio: 6,0%
  • Dependencia militar o policial: 0,4%
  • De día: 38,0%
  • De noche: 62,0%

Desaparecidos según edad

Lugar de desaparición

Momento de desaparición

Estos porcentajes registrados en 1984 pueden considerarse vigentes a la fecha.

Pero también el dolor sigue vigente. Ese dolor nos ha convertido en militantes, ha cimentado nuestra tenacidad. Las Madres somos muy ancianas, pero nuestros pies cansados no cesan en sus pasos. Cuando alguna de nosotras se va, las demás podemos hablarle a cada querido detenido desaparecido con palabras de Lily Canals, anciana poeta de San Nicolás (ciudad bonaerense):

“(…)

Mi oído está aguzado para los

desconsuelos.

Me dice que ha perdido la luz

que prolongaba su memoria

el último vestigio de su sangre

el dolor obstinado que rondaba la plaza

levantando

su nombre entre otros nombres

junto a otros pies más jóvenes

más viejos

más cansados. Minutos, meses, años

reclamando

exigiendo

gritando.

(…)

Cómo decirle que aunque nadie

reemplace

ese cordón de amor alimentado en un

constante duelo,

millones

como yo

sostenemos una estrella encendida

para él

y para todos los que una vez bajaron al

infierno”.

Categories: Statements