What is Enforced Disappearance?

According to the United Nations’ Declaration on the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance, proclaimed by the General Assembly in its resolution 47/133 of 18 December 1992 as a body of principles for all States, an enforced disappearance occurs when:

“…persons are arrested, detained or abducted against their will or otherwise deprived of their liberty by officials of different branches or levels of Government, or by organized groups or private individuals acting on behalf of, or with the support, direct or indirect, consent or acquiescence of the Government, followed by a refusal to disclose the fate or whereabouts of the persons concerned or a refusal to acknowledge the deprivation of their liberty, which places such persons outside the protection of the law.”

A Brief History of Militarization

Since 1989, Kashmir has been put under heavy military control with over 700,000 Indian troops (as per sources) placed in public and private spaces throughout the Kashmir valley.

Enforced Disappearance Since 1989

In the process of militarizing civilian spaces to fight against a homegrown insurgency since 1989, the Indian army and its state forces have subjected 8,000 to 10,000 Kashmiri civilians to enforced disappearance.

The Origins of Association of Parents of Disappeared Persons

Of the 8,000 to 10,000 civilians enforced disappeared, Javaid Ahmad Ahangar of 16 years of age was picked up from his home on August 18, 1990, and never to be found again. His mother, Parveena, began an unending search for him and in the process organized an entire group of family members also looking for their loved ones. The result of such an ongoing search is APDP – Association of Parents of Disappeared Persons, with Parveena Ahangar as the Founder and Chairperson. For over a quarter of a century APDP with the leadership of Parveena has been fighting for justice and demanding answers from the state about the whereabouts of all such 8000 to 10,000 missing Kashmiris.

What We Do

As an internationally recognized human rights organization, we specialize in the following:
  • APDP actively campaigns for an end to the practice and crime of involuntary and enforced disappearances at local, national and international platforms.
  • APDP has been engaged in documenting enforced disappearances in Kashmir since 1989 and has collected information on over one thousand such cases so far.
  • On the 10th of each month, families of the disappeared come together under the aegis of APDP to hold a public protest in Srinagar to commemorate the disappearance of their loved ones and to seek answers from the state about the whereabouts of the missing persons.
  • APDP provides basic support to families of the enforced disappeared, especially those who were left destitute when their primary providers and breadwinners (often men) were enforced disappeared.
  • APDP provides medical support to the families of the enforced disappeared who cannot get such support by themselves. Among such families are elderly parents who have been waiting for their loved ones for over two decades.
  • APDP maintains regular contact with the families of the enforced disappeared through its main office in Srinagar and checks on their status.
  • APDP provides free expert consultation to a variety of scholars, researchers, artists, journalists, writers, film-makers, etc. who are interested in the topic of enforced disappearance in Kashmir to raise awareness about this serious violation of human rights.
  • Under the leadership of our founder, Parveena Ahangar, APDP attends multiple international events at different conferences and institutions.
  • APDP offers internship and volunteer work opportunities to those interested in helping the organization.
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Ratification of the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance

“Currently, the Indian state has signed the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance (OHCHR, 2007) but has not ratified it. Enforced disappearances are a ‘complex crime’ involving two elements: ‘deprivation of liberty by state’ or state-authorised agents, and ‘refusal to acknowledge the deprivation of liberty’ or ‘concealment of the fate of the disappeared person’ (International Commission of Jurists, 2015, p. 10). Families of those disappeared are victims as discussed in international legal frameworks. They are also survivors, fighting the Indian state’s attempts to erase its record of enforced disappearances or deny its scale. They fight for acknowledgement of the enforced disappearances and of the return of their loved ones. They are witness to Indian state violence in Kashmir embodied in the enforced disappearance of their loved ones.

Goldie Osuri,  Associate Professor in Sociology at the University of Warwick (Feminist Review 119, 2018)

REPORTS

My World is Dark — State Violence and Pellet-firing Shotgun Victims from the 2016 Uprising in Kashmir

This report records testimonies from 23 victims of pellet gun injuries. These testimonies reveal how the injuries have completely transformed the victims’ lives and destroyed their futures, rendering people unemployed and impoverished, in a helpless state.

Researchers from the Association of Parents of Disappeared Persons (APDP), a human rights organization based in Srinagar, Kashmir, have collected nearly 300 testimonies of pellet gun victims. This is only a fraction of the total number of victims. When placed within the context of stepped-up state repression following popular protests in 2016, they portray a state of total war against a civilian population.

Press Releases

July 10, 2018 – APDP Press Release

July 10, 2018 – APDP Press Release

Association of Parents of Disappeared Persons (APDP) welcomes the recent human rights report of United Nations on Kashmir published on 14th June 2018 by the Office of High Commissioner of Human Rights (OHCHR) . The OHCHR report highlighted the gross human rights violations done by the military apparatus of India in Kashmir, including enforced disappearances, unlawful killings of the civilians, rapes, torture, unlawful detentions and maiming of civilians by the forces besides other things. The OHCHR recommended to India to take a serious note of these violations and stop them.

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Shujaat Bukhari – APDP Press Release

Shujaat Bukhari – APDP Press Release

Association of Parents of Disappeared Persons (APDP) condemns the brutal killing of the senior journalist Shujaat Bukhari and stands in solidarity with the bereaved family and extends deep condolences to the family. Attack on journalists is unacceptable and deeply worrying. In the past also, many journalists have been attacked and killed or maimed in Kashmir.

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April 10, 2018 – APDP Press Release

April 10, 2018 – APDP Press Release

On the occasion of the monthly sit-in on 10th April, Association of Parents of Disappeared Persons (APDP) commemorates the struggle of Dilshada Sheikh, an active member of APDP, who passed away on 31 March, 2018.
Dilshada Sheikh who lived in Zakura, Srinagar, was the ‘half-widow’ of Bashir Ahmad Sheikh. Bashir Ahmad Sheikh was a daily wage laborer, who was subjected to enforced disappearance after being abducted by Border Security Force (BSF) of the Indian Army in Lal Chowk, Srinagar on the 16th of June, 1992.

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Videos

The Dear Disappeared (2018) – Iffat Fatima

The Dear Disappeared (2018) – is a film about the enforced disappearance of Fayaz Ahmad Beigh, Srinagar, Kashmir in 1990. This film has been partially funded through Dr. Goldie Osuri’s collaborative project with The Association of Parents of Disappeared Persons (The project was funded by the University of Warwick’s Social Sciences ESRC Impact Acceleration Account).

The Endless Wait for Justice: Enforced Disappearances in Kashmir – by Video Volunteers

Nadiya Shafi reports from Jammu & Kashmir for Video Volunteers. Parveena Ahangar has united victims across the valley to demand that the state gives them back their disappeared family members.

Where Have You Hidden My New Moon Crescent – by Iffat Fatima

The film “Where Have You Hidden My New Moon Crescent” is made in collaboration with the Association of the Parents of Disappeared Persons in Kashmir (APDP). The Association of Parents of Disappeared Persons (APDP), is a collective of the family members of the victims of enforced disappearances in Kashmir, seeking information about the whereabouts of their disappeared relatives.

The film is a tribute to Mughal Mase and her relentless quest for justice and redress. It explores issues of memory, violence and healing. Mughal Mase lived in Habba Kadal, Srinagar, Kashmir. On September 1, 1990, her only son Nazir Ahmed Teli, who was a teacher was disappeared, never to be found again.

Kashmiris: Contested Present, Possible Futures (Session II) – University of Westminster and the University of Warwick

A joint event organised by the Emerging Powers programme, Department of Politics and International Relations (DPIR), University of Westminster; and the University of Warwick (Institute of Advanced Study, the Department of Sociology and the Connecting Cultures as well as the International Development Global Research Priorities Networks).

Organisers: Dr Dibyesh Anand (University of Westminster) and Dr Goldie Osuri (University of Warwick)

11.45-1pm Panel two — State violence, human rights abuses and struggle for justice

Parveena Ahangar
Professor Fozia Qazi (translator)
Dr Goldie Osuri (moderator)
(Documentary film at the start is by Iffat Fatima)

Awards

2017 Rafto Prize for Human Rights – Parveena Ahangar and Parvez Imroz

Parveena Ahangar and Parvez Imroz have long been at the forefront of the struggle against arbitrary abuses of power in a region of India that has borne the brunt of escalating violence, militarisation and international tension.

Their long campaign to expose human rights violations, promote dialogue and seek peaceful solutions to the intractable conflict in Kashmir has inspired new generations across communities. Parveena Ahangar protests against enforced dissapearances and challenges the perpetrators of violence. She is the founder and leader of the Association of Parents of Disappeared Persons (APDP) which arranges peaceful protests and offers practical assistance to victims.

Presidential Award by JK High Court Bar Association 1998

Parweena Ahanger awarded with Presidential Award By J&K high court bar association in 1998

Dublin: 2011 Front Line Award for Human Rights.

Parveena Ahanger Nominee for the 2011 Front Line Award for Human Rights Defenders

Media Reports