HRCP opposes proposed law against disappearances


Lahore: The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) has noted with deep concern media reports about a draft legislation concerning enforced disappearances that is likely to be tabled in parliament soon.

In a statement issued on Friday, HRCP said, “It is regrettable that one finds out about impending legislation on a critical human rights issue through media reports. We cannot think of any reason why the draft of such a law should be a hush-hush affair.

It said the law contains 12 recommendations, one of which classifies enforced disappearances as a criminal offence. The bill states that complete immunity shall be provided to security forces if they are able to present evidence and disclosure against a disappeared person. Not only will such a law fail to curb enforced disappearance in Pakistan, it will also undermine the struggle of families of missing persons and civil society, who have long battled to put an end to disappearances and the associated impunity in the country.

HRCP reminded the government that in every instance detainees in the state’s custody must be treated in accordance with the law and the rights that the constitution guarantees them. It agreed that legal tools might be needed to deal with the menace of disappearance but such tools should aim at creating deterrence.

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