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Vanished by the state

What are you doing this evening? Are you planning to see family or friends?

Imagine that they don’t show up.

At first you think nothing of it. They must be delayed, or maybe their phone is out of battery. But as the hours tick by, you begin to worry. You make a few calls, ‘Yes, they were at work today, I saw them leaving around 6pm’ says a colleague.

The next morning, when they still haven’t appeared, you go to the police. But they too, know nothing. In fact they are rather dismissive. You search frantically, but every turn leads to a dead end.

Now imagine that four years have passed, and you are no closer to knowing where they are.

For Amina Janjua, this is reality.

In 2005, her husband disappeared while taking a bus across Pakistan.

‘This is the worst thing to happen to anyone.’ she says, ‘If someone dies you cry and people console you and after some time you come to terms with it, but if someone disappears, you cannot breathe, it is the bitterest of agonies.’

When Amina was able to piece together the truth, she discovered that both her husband and his colleague Faisal had been taken into secret detention by the ISI, Pakistan’s intelligence agency. Sadly for her, there has still been no official confirmation of what happened to them both.

Figures from the UN suggest that four people are subject to enforced disappearance every day, a crime that is often carried out by the state, or with their full knowledge.

Speak up for those that have been disappeared:

On social networks

1. Change your avatar to the image below:

2. Change your status e.g. I will not be contactable on Facebook / Twitter for the foreseeable future. Here’s why:

If you are on Twitter, you can add a Twibbon saying ‘Missing’ to show solidarity with the Day of the disappeared

3. [Twitter only] Change your location to ‘Unknown’ and your website to [this page]

Act now

Email Justice Minister Jack Straw, urging the UK government to sign the UN Convention on Enforced Disappearance.

About Amnesty UK Blogs
Our blogs are written by Amnesty International staff, volunteers and other interested individuals, to encourage debate around human rights issues. They do not necessarily represent the views of Amnesty International.
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