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Human Rights Day: Families of disappeared in Kashmir demand whereabouts of loved ones
A Srinagar-based advocacy group has demanded that India ratify the 'International Convention For The Protection Of All Persons Against Enforced Disappearances' and declare it a crime not permissible under any conditions whatsoever.

ON THE occasion of International Human Rights Day to be observed on December 10, the Srinagar-based Association of Disappeared People (APDP) has demanded that an ‘independent commission of inquiry be instituted and empowered to look into all the complaints of enforced disappearances, extra judicial killings, torture, rapes and other human rights violations rampant in Kashmir’.

Alleging that their dear ones have been disappeared by the security forces and related agencies from ‘our homes, streets and lanes’, the APDP has expressed its resolve to continue its struggle for truth, justice and accountability.

“In most cases the perpetrators have been identified by the family members and cases against them are pending in different courts. We demand that an independent credible investigation should be initiated against these perpetrators and our cases be heard,” Parveena Ahangar, the founder and chairperson of APDP said in a statement, adding, “The relevant people should be made to account for the whereabouts of the disappeared.”

Ahangar alleged that India, despite being a signatory to the International conventions against Human Rights, ‘has a terrible track record in Kashmir’. “We request the international community to put pressure on India to comply with its obligations under international human rights laws and international humanitarian laws,” Parveena said.

Enforced/ involuntary disappearance is a global phenomena and a crime against humanity. According to official statistics, around 3000 people are missing in the state but the independent figures put the toll at around 10, 000. Various human rights activists allege that majority of people have disappeared in the custody of security forces.

APDP, formed in 1994 by Ahangar after her son allegedly disappeared in the custody of the Army, holds sit-ins on 10th of every month in a Srinagar park where women hailing from different parts of the valley assemble to remind the society that their loved ones are missing.

APDP has also demanded that ‘draconian’ laws like Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) that vest excessive and arbitrary powers with security forces and guarantee legal immunity placing them beyond the reach of accountability be repealed.

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