When a journalist is forcibly disappeared, it creates a ripple effect of fear and insecurity that silences many other sources of critical information. In too many of these cases, governments shirk their responsibility to launch credible investigations and find justice for the victims and their families.
The International Federation of Journalists, Asia-Pacific (IFJ-AP) campaign 'Without a Trace: Media Workers Missing in the Asia-Pacific' seeks to shine a light on this problem in the Asia-Pacific region, and demands that governments take concrete steps to prevent these crimes and punish perpetrators.
IFJ-AP is gathering signatures through an online petition urging regional governments to sign and ratify the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearances. The convention went into effect in 2010 and commits all State signatories to work to prevent such disappearances, and ensure that perpetrators are brought to justice when they occur.
To further highlight the issue, IFJ-AP has launched a 'Missing Journalists Database' profiling 10 unresolved cases of missing journalists from Nepal, the Maldives, Sri Lanka and the Philippines. These journalists were attacked and abducted for their reporting on critical social issues that range from human rights abuses to government support of intensive deforestation.
By supporting the IFJ-AP 'Without a Trace' campaign we keep the voices of the missing alive, and pressure governments to act when crimes are committed with the aim of silencing journalists and preventing their stories from coming to light. Ways you can get involved include:
- Sign the petition urging the governments of Australia, Nepal, Sri Lanka, the Maldives and the Philippines to sign and ratify the International Convention;
- Tweet for journalists missing in the Asia-Pacific using the hashtag #IFJMissing and the individual tags specified on the profiles of each journalist;
- Write to the governments of the missing journalists to demand updated information on the status of their cases and the re-opening of investigations.
Let's ensure that impunity for enforced disappearances is no longer the norm and that vanishing the messenger cannot silence the truth.