World's Disappearance Commissions: An Inhumanious Quest for Truth

Professor Bishnu Pathak


Enforced Disappearance (ED) is a crime against humanity. It has been a long, but neglected history. It is a denial of all access to the families, lawyers and the like. The families of ED persons recall the whereabouts the fate of their loved ones dawn to dusk. A total of 54 post-countries have experienced having Truth Commissions. Such Commissions identify, investigate and reveal the past wrongdoings hoping to resolve crises. Out of these, 15 Truth Commissions were or are formed focusing more on ED persons to provide justice to the families of the victims and to end impunity prosecuting the (alleged) perpetrators. Ironically, the (alleged) perpetrators have received justice, but families of victims are further victimized. The paper is prepared based on the victim-centric approach following the human security theories: Freedom to Perpetrator, Freedom of Perpetrator-Victim, and Freedom at Victim. The Freedom to Perpetrator includes Algeria, Colombia, East-Timor, El Salvador, Jambu-Kashmir, Pakistan, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Uganda and Uruguay; Freedom of Perpetrator-Victim comprises Argentina, Bolivia, Chile and Peru; and Freedom at Victim consists of Nepal. Besides, amnesty and reconciliation measures were studied to analyze the failed, moderated and successful Truth Commissions. Nepal’s disappearance Commission has neither amnesty nor reconciliation provision.

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