Seengar Noonari, Labour Secretary of the Awami Workers Party (AWP) and lifelong activist, was abducted from his home at 3am on June 26, 2021 in front of his wife and three young children. 15 men in plain clothes ransacked his house before blindfolding and taking him away. The abduction came the day before a National Day of Action was being organized by AWP to protest alleged illegal land grabs by private property developers. His wife has filed a petition in the Sindh High Court demanding the disclosure of his whereabouts and for him to be presented in a civilian court, in lieu of an immediate release.
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Dear Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah,
I write to you out of concern for the safety and life of Mr. Seengar Noonari
, a human rights defender from Nasirabad who was abducted from his home at 3:00 am on June 26, 2021 Seengar is currently the Sindh Labour Secretary of the Awami Workers Party.
I am alarmed to learn that no information has yet been released as to where Seengar has been detained, the charges being laid against him or even if he will be presented in civilian court. While a petition for his release has been filed in Sindh High Court, it is crucial that his family is immediately notified about his current status.
Few punishments are as cruel as enforced disappearances and not knowing the whereabouts and fate of their loved one is a source of immense pain and anguish for Seengar’s family.
Seengar Noonari has spent his life fighting for girls’ education, fair wages and proper working conditions. It is distressing that his abduction – which may amount to enforced disappearance, a crime under international law, comes after he began organizing his community against illegal land grabs.
At a time when there have been announcements from the Federal Government about criminalizing enforced disappearances, events like Seengar’s abduction serve to only undermine those intentions and inhibit crucial progress against this tool of terror.
I call upon your government to immediately disclose the whereabouts of Seengar Noonari to his family, and either release him or ensure that he is brought promptly before a judge in a civilian court to rule on the lawfulness of his arrest or detention. I urge you to uphold justice, truth and reparation for him and his family. He must be granted access to his lawyer and family immediately.