Assistance and support

Recognising the phenomenal work that APDP has been doing, in 2010, the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) released an annual grant UNVFVT in favour of the APDP. This followed the visit of the APDP Chairperson Ms Parveena Ahangar to Geneva in November 2008, to attend the 86th session of the UN Working Group on Enforced / Involuntary Disappearances (WGEID), Vrinda Grover, an advocate and human rights lawyer, based in Delhi, accompanied her. Six cases of Enforced / Involuntary Disappearances from Kashmir were also submitted to the WGEID. The grant is primarily a socio-economic assistance grant.

Main Objective of the project is to Strengthen APDP to provide legal, psychosocial, medical, social and livelihood support to families of victims of enforced disappearances and to advocate for ratification of UN Convention against Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances (UNCED) by India as well as to end impunity for enforced disappearance under the Indian Criminal Law. Besides the project is also aimed at building institutional as well as staff capacities of APDP to enable them for setting up systems for documenting the cases of enforced disappearances in the state and providing every kind of support to their families.

APDP is the only organization in the Kashmir region that deals with enforced disappearance and has taken the issue to the national and international levels, it is essential to strengthen the organization’s systems, processes and its human resources so that it can help more number of victim families effectively and systematically.

Type of assistance provided under the UNVFVT supported project are:

Medical Assistance:

Under the UNVFVT programme, the APDP had set a formal mechanism for medical support to the family / relatives of the victims of enforced / involuntary disappearances. Identification and classification of needs for medical support are assessed and formal tie-up with medical professionals / doctors of different medical streams like Gynacology, Cardiology, Nephrology, Neurology, Orthopaedic, psychiatry, ophthalmology, etc.,and hospitals are being identified and carried out for providing emergency medical care. Medical consultation to the families / relatives of the victims are be provide on district levels. The medical consultations are being followed-up with diagnostics, like ECGs, MRIs, USGs, X-Rays, Ultra Sounds, different laboratory tests and other medical analysis, as recommended by the doctors for and remedial measures. These victims are then provided medicines and other life saving drugs, as prescribed by the doctors. The assistance for medical consultations, diagnostics and medicines are provided to the victims as per doctors advise. This assistance to a beneficiary often continues for 8 to 12 months. Some of the beneficiaries, who are advised surgeries by the doctors, are provided assistance accordingly. Formal tie-up with medical professionals and hospitals for medical help on subsidized rates is being taken care of by APDP, under the programme.

Psychological Assistance

Most of the beneficiaries, family members / relatives of the victims of enforced / involuntary disappearances are suffering from trauma / psychological problems. Specialist psychiatric professionals have been identified by the APDP for providing psychiatric help and support to these beneficiaries. These professionals do also train some resource persons, who are essentially from the families of the victims, so that they can utilize it in the form of psycho-social counseling to the families of the victims in different districts of the state. The services of the resource persons are utilized to train other such victims in the field. The resource persons work as counselors and organize group meetings, which in turn provide a platform for individual and group interactions at district and village levels. APDP also invite experts in Psycho-Social counseling from other parts of India to hold workshops and therapy sessions and engage professionals for special therapy and counseling sessions with children and the elderly. The core group of APDP also provide psycho-social counseling to the beneficiaries.

Social Assistance:

Under the UNVFVT program, APDP is tying up with different schools and colleges in different districts of the state to provide education to the children in the families of the victims of enforced / involuntary disappearances. The assistance primarily include admission fees, monthly tuition fee and other dues, Uniforms, Books, Stationary, bags, Lunch Boxes, Water Bottles and other educational materials, as per requirement. It is also made sure that school dropouts in these families join back their schools.

 Legal Assistance:

Legal Assistance - Training to para- legal workers (young lawyers or law students) in documenting and classifying cases, providing legal advise to victim family and follow-up filed cases - Documenting and classifying cases to identify different needs of legal aid and advise on legal assistance - Setting up mechanisms and develop institutional capacity to strengthen and formalize the ongoing legal assistance to the victim families through formal tie up with legal experts, bar council and human rights lawyers - Assist victim families in filing cases and following up their cases - Organize workshop/ seminar on strategic advocacy measures for fair and speedy trial of victims through transparent and effective mechanisms - Helping the families of the victims to get FIRs registered with concerned police station. - Organize workshop/ seminar on Ratification of International Convention for Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearances signed by India and inclusion of enforced disappearance as a criminal offense in the Indian Criminal Law - Survey for socio-economic status and needs as well as legal cases of victim families in the affected district of Kashmir valley - Advocacy campaign, petitions and appeals for a) provision of an impartial judicial commission of inquiry and the judgment and sanction of those responsible for the crime, b) formulation of legal norms classifying enforced disappearance as a Crime against Humanity, c) Opposition of impunity measures for alleged perpetrators of enforced disappearance, - Publication of report on socio-economic profile, legal battles and tortures faced by the victim families

Financial Assistance:

As there are a number of families wherein the victims of enforced disappearance have left behind old aged parents, who are living alone with no earning members in these families. APDP, under the UNVFVT project provides assistance in the form of livelihood support viz. emergency shelter, food, beddings, and other essentials. Funds are also disbursed against paid bills, receipts and bus tickets. Wherever possible, bills are being paid directly to hospitals, schools, other vendors.