Seoul, South Korea - The AFAD Secretary-General, Mary Aileen Diez-Bacalso called on the South Korean government to sign and ratify the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance in a conference held in Seoul, South Korea, entitled: International Conference on Enforced Disappearances, Solidarity, Strategies and Solutions.
The conference was opened with a moving video on the Korean Air flight YS-11, when the plane was hijacked by North Korean agents in 1969. 11 victims are still remaining in North Korea. In total, more than 500 cases of enforced disappearances against South Korean citizens have been committed by the North Korean Government.
Khurram Parvez of the Association of Parents of Disappeared Persons in Kashmir presented the common phenomenon of enforced disappearances in the disputed state of Jammu and Kashmir. More than 8,000 people have been subjected to enforced disappearances and the APDP through its documentation has established the presence of more than 7000 mass graves and unmarked graves in Jammu and Kashmir. Having watched the film on the cases of disappearances committed by North Korea, he concluded that India is no better than the North Korean government and vice versa. If North Korea, rightly so, is being isolated by the international community, there should also be scrutiny of India’s human rights record in Jammu and Kashmir.
Citizens’ Alliance calls on foreign governments to raise the issue of enforced disappearances in the upcoming UPR session for North Korea.
Organized by the Citizens’ Alliance for North Korean Human Rights and the Asian Federation Against Involuntary Disappearances, the conference was participated in by the embassies of Argentina, Uruguay, Mexico, Colombia, Ecuador, Germany, Belgium, Azerbaijan, Poland with the conspicuous absence of many Asian embassies.
MARY AILEEN D. BACALSO