A petition spearheaded by the Sombath Initiative calls on governments and the UN Human Rights Council to put the enforced disappearance of Sombath Somphone at the centre of the Universal Periodic Review for the Lao PDR.
Endorsed by 145 organisations from six continents, and sent to over 40 missions to the United Nations in Geneva, the petition asserts the disappearance of Sombath Somphone parallels a decisive reversal in democratic space, signals a deterioration of the human rights situation throughout the country, and is the most visible manifestation of a broader and deeper malaise pervading the Lao PDR.
Dear Pope Francis,
¡Bienvenido a las Filipinas! Welcome to the Philippines! By now, I’m sure you’re already flooded with messages poured upon you by my fellow Filipinos. Thus, my voice will be just another amongst the crowd.
My voice comes from a place of complex stories, identities, ideologies, and perspectives. I am an agnostic theist. I am gay. I am highly critical of how your church treats LGBT people and women. I am also highly critical of the Philippine government and of government as a general concept, whether applied to a state or to a religious group.
The Asian Federation Against Involuntary Disappearances (AFAD) calls on the Sri Lankan authorities to investigate the new threats against its Council member, Mr. Brito Fernando of Families of the Disappeared.
Based on the account of Mr. Fernando, past 10:30 evening of 4 January 2015, he, together with his wife and daughter arrived home to find a polythine bag hanging in his gate. He did not inspect it with his family around as his daughter was already crying out of fear. He opened it around 6:00 in the morning the next day and found the head of a dog cut from the neck with blood around it. He assumed the dog was just killed the night before it was placed on his gate.
Today, 23 December 2014 marks the 4th anniversary of the entry into force of the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance (Convention) after the 20th instrument of ratification was deposited by Iraq. Four years after the entry into force of the Convention, this treaty, whose provisions originate from the concrete sufferings of the families of the disappeared, has garnered 44 ratifications and 94 signatories, with Slovakia being the most recent State Party and Angola as the most recent signatory. Yet of the 94 States Parties, only 18 States have recognized the competence of the Committee on Enforced Disappearances (CED).
With the 84 states having outstanding cases submitted to the UN Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances, universal ratification of the Convention is far from being realized. The United Nations Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances (UN WGEID) reports of 42,889 active cases it has received from 84 states. Multiplied by the number of family members, relatives and friends who suffer from the effect of enforced disappearance, each case is not just part of statistics but it signifies tremendous human sufferings caused by states which are supposed to be protectors of human rights.