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Source: United States House of Representatives – Congressman Brad Sherman (D-CA)

Nov 19, 2020

Press Release

Washington, D.C. – Congressmen Brad Sherman (D-CA) and Jamie Raskin (D-MD) today introduced a House Resolution calling for an end to enforced disappearances in Asia and around the world and calling upon the United States to ratify the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance.

“These types of human rights abuses cannot go unanswered,” said Congressman Sherman. “We must speak out, work with our allies and demand accountability for these disappearances and other violations of human rights. As chair of the Sindh Caucus and a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, I have worked tirelessly on this issue; but unfortunately, we have seen a rise in enforced disappearances cases throughout the Asia region. I was proud to work with Congressman Raskin on this resolution and I want to commend his leadership on this important issue.”

“Enforced disappearances are a serious human rights violation in Asia and around the world,” said Congressman Raskin. “I’m proud to join my colleague Rep. Sherman in introducing our resolution to end this heinous crime, and support justice and accountability for victims and survivors of enforced disappearances, including those carried out against Sindh communities in Pakistan; Tamils and human rights activists in Sri Lanka; victims of the Suharto regime in Indonesia, and Uyghur Muslims in China suffering mass atrocities. Communities and families of the disappeared—such as Dr. Gulshun Abbas, a Uyghur Muslim medical doctor reportedly detained by China in a mass internment camp since 2018—have the right to know the whereabouts and condition of their loved ones. As an Executive Member of the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission and a member of the Sindh Caucus, I will work to ensure the United States stands on the side of human rights and against repressive tactics by authoritarian governments.”

The world’s largest human rights organization, Amnesty International, has endorsed the “Ending Enforced Disappearances in Asia and Globally” Resolution.

Andrew Fandino, the senior program officer for the Individuals at Risk Program at Amnesty International USA said: “Enforced disappearances have occurred and continue to occur in every region in the world, and governments have a known duty to put an end to them. The fate of people who have been disappeared too often remains unknown, and their loves ones and communities live with the pain of uncertainty. Searching for the truth may put entire families in great danger, and not only leaves relatives living in limbo but affects entire communities and society. Relatives of the disappeared, human rights defenders, key witnesses, and lawyers are routinely the targets of enforced disappearances. For those who escape death and survive the torture and the constant fear of being killed, the physical and psychological scars remain. This resolution is a vital step forward in the United States to support survivors, call for accountability, and help to ensure that other people are not subjected to enforced disappearance in the future.”  

The “Ending Enforced Disappearances in Asia and Globally” Resolution:

  • calls for justice for victims of enforced disappearances and accountability for those who commit these crimes;
  • calls for U.S. law enforcement to use all available legal and statutory tools to ensure that alleged perpetrators of enforced disappearances are held accountable in U.S. courts and to ensure that the United States is not a haven for human rights violators;
  • urges all countries to abandon the unlawful practice of enforced disappearances;
  • calls upon the State Department and U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) to continue to support transitional justice measures and initiatives to assist victims and survivors of enforced disappearances, including by supporting national, international, and hybrid judicial mechanisms to clarify the fate and whereabouts of the disappeared;
  • urges the United States to sign and ratify the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance;
  • and calls upon the Governments of China, Sri Lanka, Indonesia and Pakistan to bolster their response and accountability on this issue.

To view the full Resolution text, click here.

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