Colombo, Sri Lanka - The Asian Federation Against Involuntary Disappearances (AFAD) concluded its week-long Council Meeting in Sri Lanka with a solidarity night together with local civil society organizations and family members of the disappeared. The night of sharing, video presentation, music and dancing ended with the arrest of six persons, including two elderly women family members of the disappeared, Ane Teresa Fernando and Ariyawathi de Silva; the Secretary of the Families of the Disappeared (FOD), Wasantha Ranile Kumara; Executive Director of the Right to Life, Mr. Philip Dissanayake; a vehicle driver and a friend. Their laptops, mobile phones and the key to the vehicle of Mr. Dissanayake, with plate number 59-9700 were taken into police custody. The victims were put into a police jeep by uniformed policemen, including the Headquarters Chief Inspector in Negombo, and another policeman who introduced himself as Assistant Superintendent of Police, but was plain clothed. Witnesses took the following official police numbers: 89218; 79573; 89568; 10701; 51717.
MR. OLIVIER DE FROUVILLE
United Nations Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances,
Esteemed Chairperson and Members of the UN WGEID,
We, the Council Members of the Asian Federation Against Involuntary Disappearances (AFAD), would like to bring to the attention of the UN WGEID the issue of continuous denial of travel documents to Mr. Parvez Imroz, AFAD Council Member representing the Association of Parents of Disappeared Persons (APDP) in Kashmir, India and his colleague Mr. Zahir-ud-Din, who is also member of the association. As you are fully aware, the AFAD has been continuously campaigning against the phenomenon of enforced disappearances in whole Asia. In the course of our work for truth, justice, reparation, redress and memory, our member-organizations are actively engaged in participating in conferences, workshops and meetings organized in different countries.
All Souls’ Day, also known as Day of Remembrance of the dearly departed, is commemorated mostly by Catholics all over the world every 2nd day of November. Literatures describe it as a day of “solemn feast”, of visiting the tombs of loved ones in the cemetery where prayers are offered along with fresh flowers and lit candles. It is a day characterized as a collective activity where families and friends gather together to remember the dearly departed. Other cultures make the occasion festive with food, colorful altars with photos of the dead and other memorabilia.
Countries where Catholics are the majority, like the Philippines and Timor Leste, declare All Souls’ Day a national holiday so that relatives can visit their loved ones in the cemeteries. All Souls’ Day is also called differently by many languages. The Czechs call it “Commemoration of All the Departed”. Other cultures refer to it as Day of the Dead, translated as Día de los Muertos for Mexicans, Halottak Napja for Hungarians and Dia de Finados for Brazilians. Poles regard All Souls’ Day as zaduszki, a day when all the windows and doors are opened to welcome the spirits of the dead.
By Mary Aileen D. Bacalso
Focal Person, International Coalition Against Enforced Disappearances
His Excellency the French Ambassador to Geneva, Mr. Nicolas Niemtchinow, Chairperson, Chair of the UN Committee Against Enforced Disappearances, Mr. Emmanuel Decaux, Chair of the UN Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances , Mr. Olivier de Frouville, panellist Hugo Relva, friends, ladies and gentlemen,