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The United Nations Declaration on the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance states that an involuntary or enforced disappearance happens when “ persons are arrested, detained or abducted against their will or otherwise deprived of their liberty by officials of different branches or levels of Government, or by organized groups, or by private individuals acting on behalf of, or with the support, direct or indirect, consent or acquiescence of the Government, followed by a refusal to disclose the fate or whereabouts of the persons concerned or a refusal to acknowledge the deprivation of their liberty, which places such persons outside the protection of the law.”
Victims of enforced disappearance can be abducted right in front of their families, from their homes, inside a mall, while crossing the street, in the middle of the night or during daytime. They can be activists, farmers, workers, drivers, lawyers, journalists, students, women, priests, nuns, fathers, mothers, daughters, sons, wives, husbands, sisters or brothers. They are called desaparecidos or the disappeared.
In the Philippines, thousands have become victims of involuntary or enforced disappearance since the rule of the Dictator Ferdinand Marcos up to the current administration of President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III. Information on their whereabouts or what has happened to them remains unknown. Their families have not stopped looking for their missing loved ones.
Involuntary or enforced disappearance is a grave human rights violation. However, not a single perpetrator has been punished. In the Philippines, a law criminalizing the act of involuntary or enforced disappearance has yet to be enacted.
That is why we, the families, friends and supporters of victims of enforced disappearances, are calling on the Philippine Legislature to immediately pass into law House Bill 3046, An Act Defining and Penalizing the Crime of Enforced or Involuntary Disappearance. It will criminalize the acts of involuntary or enforced disappearance. It will help bring justice to the victims and their families and penalize the perpetrators.
We also urge the Noynoy Aquino government to sign, ratify and adhere to the provisions of the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance which was adopted by the UN General Assembly on December 20, 2006 and entered into force on December 23, 2010. #