Body to find people behind enforced disappearances urged

Dhaka, Aug 30 – Eminent citizens and rights body activists yesterday demanded formation of an independent and neutral commission to find out the people who were behind enforced disappearances during the various period of time across the country.Rights organisation Mother’s Call yesterday held a discussion on the occasion of the International Day of the Victims of Enforced Disappearances at the National Press Club in Dhaka where eminent citizens and right activists including Mahmudur Rahman Manna, Dr Zafrullah Chowdhury, Zonayed Saki, Asif Nazrul and Barrister Jyotirmoy Barua were present, among others.
The UN general assembly adopted a declaration on the protection of all persons from enforced disappearance as resolution 47/133 on December 18, 1992 and it observes the International Day of the Victims of Enforced Disappearances on August 30 each year.
During the discussion, the participants urged the government to take initiative for formation of an independent and neutral commission in order to find out the people who were enforced disappearance in various period of time.
Family members of those disappeared took part in the discussion meeting along with the pictures of their kith and kin and urged the government to take initiative for bringing their loved ones back to them. Children of the disappeared persons brought pictures of their fathers with placards where it was written ‘wanted to get back father only.’
Every mother of the disappeared people broke into tears at the programme and sought her lost child to return. Every wife wants to find her husband. Children were also crying for their father return.
At one stage of the programme the hall room of press club became heavy with the crying of the mothers and children of disappeared people.
Mahmudur Rahman Manna, after taking part in the discussion, said, “Every year we come to this meeting and see the same dejected faces. But our calls for justice do not reach the people in power.”
“We demand forming of an independent commission to investigate the incidents of disappearances and bring back the victims,” Manna, also the convener of Nagorik Oikya, added.
“The next year is the birth centenary of the Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. The best gift on such occasion to these families would be bringing their loved ones back to them,” Zafrullah said, urging the prime minister to take actions in this regard.
The organiser of Mother’s Call, mother of Sajedul Islam Suman, a BNP man who was picked up in 2013, is now bed-ridden due to old age complications, Suman’s sister Marufa Islam Ferdausi said.
All these years, she has been waiting and fighting to bring her son back, but it is now uncertain whether she will ever get to see her son again, Marufa said.
She called upon the authorities concerned to bring her brother back so that her mother can see him one more time.
Raisa, girl of Sumon, said that her father disappeared when she was only 7 to 8 years old and she was in class four at that time. “Now, I read in class nine. I cannot see my father since long. I want to get back my father,” Raisa started crying at one stage of her speech and the environment became heavy.
Saleha Begum, mother of Mozammel Hosen Topu, a BCL activist who has been missing for more than three years, said that many mothers in the country are passing unbearable days.
Such a situation cannot go on in an independent country, Saleha stared crying saying that how much time she will wait for her son’s return.
Rowshan Ara, mother of Jobudal leader Mahbub Rahman Ripon, who has been disappeared on March 20 in 2014 from Feni, said that a group of people took my son from my house at night. “I cannot file a case about the disappearance of my son,” Rowshan Ara has also started crying.
The International Federation for Human Rights, the second-oldest international human rights group, published a report in April 2019, titled “Vanished Without a Trace: The enforced disappearance of opposition and dissent in Bangladesh,” which cited 507 such cases between 2009 and 2018, covering the ruling party’s back-to-back terms in office.
Among them, 286 returned and 62 were found dead, but 159 remain missing. The report says the cases indicate the involvement of the police and the Rapid Action Battalion.
The Ain o Salish Kendra (ASK), a Dhaka-based legal aid and human rights organization, also offered similar figures in their data collected between 2013 and 2019. – Staff Reporter