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General Voices For Freedom Writes To The United Nations High Commissioner For Human Rights

Voices For Freedom writes to the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights
Wednesday 7th of February 2007
Louise Arbour

New York, NY - Voices For Freedom has written to the President of the United Nations General Assembly congratulating the Committee on the adoption of the "International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Di sappearance" on December 20, 2006, by the United Nations General Assembly. The Convention effectively brings the applicable international law in the process of administrating justice, keeping in v iew the established standards of customary international law. The Voices For Freedom welcomes the recognition by the Convention of the right not to be subjected to enforced disappearance and the requirement put on the member States to prohibit this practice in their national legislation.

The Convention is a step in the right direction but it will require sustained international pressure on countries that have refused to ratify it. It is the worst kind of human rights abuse; an individual is abducted, taken to a secret location, tortur ed and many a time killed without the family ever getting to know the whereabouts of a loved one. Such acts are a result of the government's unwillingness to protect its citizens. If the police or the Armed Forces act with impunity and are not held accountable for such violations disappearances will continued to take

India is one such country with a not so clean track record. Police continue to abduct people illegally without any concern for the procedures laid down in the rule books. The government lends full support to such covert operations and the guilty police officers and if there is ever any effort on the part of the victims to approach the Court for justice it is sabotaged and obstructed.

India has not ratified major international conventions and covenants citing its tradition of commitment to human rights and its Constitution guarantees basic rights and freedom. However it performs poorly when it comes to the implementation of these for its citizens. Enforced disappearances are a crime against humanity and as the Convention recognizes this therefore Voices For Freedom feels that those found guilty should be subjected to International criminal prosecution. Disappearances and extra-judicial killing of thousands during the ten year period of violence in the state of Punjab have not produced a single convi ction of the guilty police officers .

Voices For Freedom has collected the data of more than 1700 disappearances and killings in that period and many more have gone undocumented. In fact the disappearances continue to take place in India. Recently Darshan Singh1 was abducted and kept in secret locations for seven days before presenting him in the court after the United Nation's Convention against Torture's Special Rapporteur intervened on the application filed by Voices For Freedom.

Voices For Freedom hopes that the adoption of the Convention will put pressure on countries like India to bring legislations in their domestic law.

The Convention has been officially opened for signatures in Paris today.

Source:Panthic Weekly: Voices For Freedom writes to the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights



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