Amina determined to get justice for families of the disappeared
Amina Masood Janjua, a Pakistani activist whose husband Masood went missing in 2005 whilst on a bus journey from Rawalpindi to Peshawar. once again took to the streets of Islamabad to protest “enforced disappearances” on International Human Rights Day.
Many innocent civilians have been taken from their families caught up in a security clampdown following 9/11 as part of US War on Terror. Often they do not know where loved ones have been taken. First Information Reports (FIRs) are filed but the judicial process is slow. Some families are afraid to officially report that a relative is missing for fear of backlash.
Amina gathered families at Nadra chowk Islamabad to deliver a memorandum to the speaker of the National Assembly. She addressed the crowd stating, “lets see if the speaker has heart enough to welcome us”.
She reported that “the rally was stopped by a heavy contingént of police to prevent campaigners from going to the Parliament. However the government had to admit the issue and send the deputy speaker to the Nadra chowk to receive the Memorandum.”
Children badly affected when a parent goes missing
The following is Amina’s written statement,
International Day of Human Rights
10 December 2014
Respected Mr Speaker,
Despite being the sixth largest nation Pakistan is still in quest of the prestige it deserves. Prestige is gained by power basis of which is economic stability. But this economic stability is achieved when people live freely and use their abilities to the fullest without any fear or duress. Surrounded by numerous dangers, our homeland most importantly needs unity.
This unity can only be achieved when citizens have complete faith and trust in state and all its departments. But unluckily rampant human rights violations are a big obstacle in the way of this objective. There is no question about the superiority of right to life and right to liberty among all human rights. Unfortunately government of Pakistan appears to be unsuccessful in deliverance of this primary right. Departments subordinate to the government of Pakistan stand accused of enforced disappearance.In fact this charge has been proved in numerous judicial proceedings.
Today, people of Pakistan are scared of their very own institutions. Muslim League (n) government is completely silent on this most grave cruelty. In comparison, character of previous government looks to be far better which passed two unanimous resolutions against enforced disappearance in each house of the Parliament. It was also in the previous government era that Parliamentary committee for national security presented a set of recommendations which still stand hungry for attention and action.
On this auspicious event of International human rights day, while reminding the present National Assembly of the resolutions and recommendations of the former one, DHR Pakistan demands solid steps to be taken to eradicate menace of enforced disappearance.
Implementation of the following steps along with the abovementioned resolutions and recommendations is the need of the hour:
Constitution of Pakistan be implemented and jurisdiction of High courts and Supreme court of Pakistan be extended to all the tribal areas of Pakistan.
National commission of human rights be established with immediate effect.
Protection of Pakistan Act be repealed immediately.
All the missing persons be surfaced under AACPR 2011 before repealing it for good.
Enforced disappearance be declared a crime against humanity in the constitution of Pakistan.
Laws to protect citizens from enforced disappearance and to prosecute its perpetrators be promulgated.
Access to lawyer, courts and to family as guaranteed under constitution be made sure of.
Perpetrators of enforced disappearance be brought to trial and convicted through due process of law.
Policy to avoid detention of accused citizens under any kind of charges be implemented as much as possible.
Every investigation and legal process must adhere to Islamic principles as well as international standards.
A strong witness protection system be evolved.
Families of the victims of enforced disappearance be provided protection and legal assistance.
UN Convention to Protect all Persons from Enforced Disappearance be ratified and implemented in all its entirety.
Jurisdiction of Committee against enforced disappearance established under UN Convention should be accepted.
Government should take effective measures for the emotional, psychological and economic well being and rehabilitation of recovered persons and families who are victims of enforced disappearance.
Note: Resolutions and recommendations of the previous Parliament are part of this memorandum as annexures.
Amina Masood Janjua
Defence of Human Rights Pakistan
Defence of Human Rights and Public Service Trust Website
Carol Anne Grayson is an independent writer/researcher on global health/human rights/WOT and is Executive Producer of the Oscar nominated, Incident in New Baghdad . She is a Registered Mental Nurse with a Masters in Gender Culture and Development. Carol was awarded the ESRC, Michael Young Prize for Research 2009, and the COTT ‘Action = Life’ Human Rights Award’ for “upholding truth and justice”. She is also a survivor of US “collateral damage”.