Be vocal against enforced disappearances

Rights campaigners tell victims’ families

Staff Correspondent | Published: 00:05, Aug 31,2017 | Updated: 23:54, Aug 30,2017

 
 

Human rights organisation Odhikar holds a press conference at its Gulshan office in the capital on Wednesday, marking International Day of the Victims of Enforced Disappearance. — New Age photo

Rights campaigners on Wednesday requested enforced disappearance victim families to be vocal and mobilize public opinion against the illegal happenings by bringing perpetrators to justice.
Speaking at a discussion, they pointed out that unless victims’ families speak out the gross irregularities would persist providing impunity to perpetrators.
They also said fear of protests alone could save the victims’ lives and increase the possibility of their return from the clutches of the perpetrators.
‘Silence would never help,’ said Odhikar secretary and relentless human rights campaigner Adilur Rahman Khan.
‘Silence only helps the perpetrators of enforced disappearances who want people to be silent only to conceal their extra-judicial actions to buy time to make victims vanish without a trace,’ he said.
Afroza Islam, sister of Shajedul Islam Sumon, who disappeared since he was picked up by RAB on December 4,2013, said keeping silence over the matter cost the family a lot.
‘For three and a half months my mother believed that RAB would return her son if she maintained silence,’ said Afroza.
‘We even refused to speak to journalists and BNP leaders on the issue and now realization dawned on us that it was a terrible mistake,’ said Afroza.
‘Protests alone can ensure safety and return of the victims of any enforced disappearance, ’ she added.
She was speaking at a discussion hosted by Odhikar at its Gulshan office in the afternoon to observe the International Day of the Victims of Enforced Disappearance.
Close relatives of eight other victims of enforced disappearance also narrated their sad experiences.
Abdul Qader Bhuiyan Masum also remains traceless since he too was picked with Sumon from the same spot and at the same time.
His mother Ayesha Ali recalled Masum as a very simple, hard-working and kind hearted person who was far from demanding.
Abdul Hai narrated the sad story of enforced disappearance of his nephew Al Mokaddas since February 4, 2012.
Remembrance meetings would never ‘bring back our loved ones, we need to raise our voice together to end the saga of enforced disappearances,’ said Hai.
Between January 2009 and July 2017, according to Odhikar 388 citizens became victims of enforced disappearance and the bodies of a few were found later, some returned home and some continues to be in police custody following prolonged disappearances. At least 188 of them were yet to return.
Odhikar held rallies in 21 districts on Wednesday to observe the International Day of the Victims of Enforced Disappearance.
Odhikar coordinator Samia Islam presented a paper at the discussion also attended by Jatiya Mukti Council secretary Faizul Hakim Lala, lawyer Fahima Nasrin Munni, and Shromo Bikash Kendra coordinator Sima Das Simu.

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