Fourteen Years of Avowed Commitment to
End Enforced Disappearances
Following the world’s observance of the International Week of the Disappeared, we, the Asian Federation Against Involuntary Disappearances (AFAD) commemorate today our 14th founding anniversary. As the regional federation of organizations of families of the disappeared and human rights advocates working directly on the issue of enforced disappearance in the Asian region, we have endeavored for fourteen years to make a strong regional response in the global struggle against the phenomenon of enforced disappearance.
During all these years of building the federation, from a core group of three member-organizations, AFAD has metamorphosed into a pro-active regional human rights organization of eleven member-organizations from Bangladesh, India, Indonesia, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Timor Leste and serves as the resonating voice of voiceless families of the disappeared in Asia - a region where human rights remain a dim reality and where strong regional mechanisms and pieces of domestic legislation for redress are non-existent. During the last 14 years, the Federation’s very constituents, the organizations of families of the disappeared and other organizations working on the issue of disappearances have relentlessly pursued the cause the disappeared and helped the families seek truth and justice. Admittedly, though we still have to reach out to many countries, taking into consideration the vastness of the Asian continent.
Every last week of May, the international community, especially the associations of families of the disappeared, commemorate the International Week of the Disappeared (IWD). Accordingly Odhikar is observing the IWD from 27 May – June 2, 2012. During this week Odhikar condemns the failure of the government of Bangladesh to protect the citizens from enforced disappearance and extends solidarity to the families of the victim.
The IWD was initiated by the Latin American Federation of Associations for Relatives of the Detained-Disappeared (FEDEFAM), during its founding Congress in San Jose, Costa Rica in 1981. Over the past thirty years this event has inspired many organisations world-wide to fight enforced disappearances.
The Justice for Peace Foundation (JPF) today called on the Thai Government to ratify and comply with the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearances in a report which documents the enforced disappearance of 59 people from throughout Thailand.
“JPF has found that enforced disappearances take place within a broader context of state violence which is used to silence dissenting views and to eliminate suspected criminals, outside of the rule of law”, said Angkhana Neelapaijit, JPF President.
As the world observes the International Week of the Disappeared on 28 May – 02 June 2012, the Philippines undergoes the second cycle of the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) in the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva, Switzerland tomorrow, 29 May 2012.
One of the standing Council recommendations to the Philippines is to sign and ratify the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance. The Philippines neither “accepted” nor “refused” the said recommendation but declared “to consider” it.
It is hoped that the Philippines during the UPR will once and for all decide and sincerely commit to sign and accede to the Convention soonest.