17 December 2017
"As enforced disappearance respects no age, gender, race, creed, religion, or ideology and is committed in a borderless geography, AFAD consolidates its 14 member organizations across Asia in Bangladesh, Indian administered Jammu and Kashmir, Indonesia, Nepal, Pakistan, Philippines, Sri Lanka, Timor-Leste, and South Korea, and individual members in Laos and Switzerland. AFAD rallies its members to intensify their collective struggle to protect the absolute right not to be subjected to enforced disappearance in solidarity with all the peoples of Asia and the whole world."
Today marks the fifth anniversary of the enforced disappearance of Sombath Somphone, a staunch Lao civil society leader and community development activist who advocated for rural community-based development, especially among the youth. On the fateful evening of December 15, 2012, Sombath was abducted by policemen in Vientiane. Evidence obtained of Sombath’s abduction was caught on CCTV, where it showed that he was stopped and taken away on a pickup truck in front of the police station. Laotian authorities immediately denied any involvement in his abduction, which speaks volumes of the palpable culture of impunity in the country that is felt significantly to this day.
THE ASIAN FEDERATION AGAINST INVOLUNTARY DISAPPEARANCES
Paris, 6 December 2017. The Lao Movement for Human Rights wishes success to the 6th Congress of The Asian Federation Against Involuntary Disappearances.
Enforced disappearance is a violent and unacceptable violation to our basic rights and an infringement of international law. It is an odious crime that deeply and painfully affects the victim’s close ones who desperately seek information and find themselves in front of walls of denial, silence and indifference from the authorities. Too often, it involves the acquiescence or complicity of state officials and instills fear within civil society and human rights community in the country.
“Strengthening AFAD in its Second Decade of Struggle Towards a More Effective and Enduring Response to Enforced Disappearances in Asia”
In faith and solidarity, we, the Task Force Detainees of the Philippines, extend our greeting to Asian Federation Against Involuntary Disappearances (AFAD) and all its member organizations.