Addressing grave human rights violations; torture and disappearances

The South Asian region is plagued by enforced disappearances and extrajudicial killings by State agents, demonstrating the general breakdown of law and order in the region. The majority of enforced disappearances result in the extrajudicial killing of the victims. The lack of official acknowledgment of these killings and disappearances, and independent mechanisms to confirm the killings and trace those disappeared are major concerns.

Those responsible for enforced disappearances in many instances have not been held accountable. Military personnel, armed groups and other perpetrators of these crimes have continued to behave with the same impunity. Sixty years after the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) torture is still rampant in South Asia and is practiced as a routine and accepted means of investigation. All sections of the law enforcement agencies, the paramilitary and military units practice torture and it is also used for social control.

Some South Asian States have ratified relevant international 7 treatise however this has not been reflected in domestic laws especially with regard to torture. Of greater concern is the prevalence of torture in the region despite so many laws and signatories to conventions against torture. While torture and enforced disappearances are prevalent in the South Asian region, there is little done to mobilize the public and organize collective action against these practices.

SAHR feels it is important to create a discourse among the legal community and human rights activists in issues relating to torture as well as raise awareness among the general public. SAHR hopes to link with mass media channels and use social media in order to engage the public and to use creative ways of raising awareness on issues of torture and disappearances in South Asia.