Odhikar believes that democracy is not merely a process of electing a ruler; it is the result of the peoples’ struggle for inalienable rights, which become the fundamental premise to constitute the State. Therefore, the individual freedoms and democratic aspirations of the citizens – and consequently, peoples’ collective rights and responsibilities - must be the foundational principles of the State.
The Asian Federation Against Enforced Disappearance (AFAD) expresses its utter dismay that the case against the alleged abductor of forced disappeared victim Jonas Burgos lost in the lower court. This is a travesty of justice and a manifestation of the longstanding culture of impunity that is deeply embedded in Philippine society. The 9-page decision penned by Presiding Judge Alfonso C. Ruiz of the Quezon City Regional Trial Court (QCRTC), Branch 216, absolved Major Harry Baliaga Jr. of the crime of arbitrary detention of activist Jonas Burgos. This absolution passed despite the presence of a witness who identified Baliaga as the abductor of Jonas in a restaurant inside a Quezon City Mall, as well as other circumstantial evidence that connected the former to the abduction of the latter.
10 October 2017
The Asian Federation against Enforced Disappearances (AFAD) congratulates Odhikar Bangladesh on its 23rd founding anniversary. Odhikar which means “rights” in the Bangla language has been in the forefront of the struggle for human rights in Bangladesh for 23 long years. The precarious and high risk political situation in Bangladesh has not been an obstacle in your fight for a democratic country where rights are respected and protected.