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Two welcome decisions

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THE prime minister took notice the other day of the country’s two festering sores — enforced disappearances and bonded labour. He issued directives for making enforced disappearance a crime and for offenders’ trial in regular courts. He also called for elimination of bonded labour. Both initiatives can only be welcomed.

For over 15 years enforced disappearances have been causing unbearable suffering to the families of victims of this atrocity, besides the denial of basic human rights, torture and violation of personal dignity that is the victims’ lot. After its efforts to secure recovery of missing persons and punishment of culprits during 2007-09 had been frustrated, the Supreme Court asked the government to form a commission to find a way out. Comprising three former high court judges, the commission that was set up in 2010 submitted its report after eight months. The present government would do well if it began by publishing and implementing the report of the commission of retired judges.

A recommendation of the judges’ commission that was accepted led to the creation, under a Ministry of Interior notification, of the Commission of Inquiry on Enforced Disappearances that started working in March 2011. Till the end of last month, it received 5,706 cases and claims to have settled 3,551 of them (this doesn’t mean 3,551 missing persons have rejoined their families). On Dec 31, 2018, this commission still had 2,155 cases pending before it. Unfortunately, fresh complaints of enforced disappearances are still pouring in and........

© Dawn