Against Involuntary


We, the Asian organizations of families, relatives and friends of victims of involuntary disappearances, form ourselves into a federation of human rights organizations and human rights advocates known as the Asian Federation Against Involuntary Disappearances or AFAD.

We dedicate ourselves to the promotion, protection and defense of human rights principally of victims of involuntary disappearances in Asia and of their families and relatives and do hereby promulgate this Constitution.



Section 1 – The Asian Federation Against Involuntary Disappearances is a federation of Asian human rights organizations and invited advocates working directly on the issue of disappearances. The federation acknowledges the practice of involuntary disappearance is directed against the political opponents of the States and those who uphold and defend the socio-economic, cultural as well as civil and political rights of peoples. The federation is independent and non-profit.

Section 2- The federation shall be Asia-wide.



Section 1. We uphold and believe in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, especially in the right to life, dignity and self-determination regardless of age, gender, race, beliefs, creed and culture. Moreover, we uphold the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR); the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR); the United Nations Declaration on the Protection of All Persons From Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances (UNDPAPFEID), the United Nations Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearances and the Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman and Degrading Treatment and Punishment. In the pursuit of our objectives, we are guided and motivated by the principles of truth, justice, reconstruction of historical memory, freedom and democracy, international solidarity.



Section 1. We commit ourselves to achieve the following objectives:

1. Promote and forge international solidarity among organizations of the families of the disappeared in Asia and with similar formations in other continents;

2. Provide assistance to member-organizations in ensuring a stronger response to the phenomena of enforced disappearances;

3. Conduct campaign and lobby work in addressing the issue of enforced disappearances in Asia, thus ensuring the attainment of truth, justice, redress and the reconstruction of the collective memory
of the disappeared;

4. Strengthen the capacity of the federation and its member-organizations through various forms of empowerment and capacity building activities.



Section 1. In accordance with the United Nations Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance, AFAD defines enforced or involuntary disappearance as follows: 

Enforced disappearance is considered to be the arrest, detention, abduction or any other form of deprivation of liberty committed by agents of the State or by persons or groups of persons acting with the authorization, support or acquiescence of the State, followed by the refusal to acknowledge the deprivation of liberty or by concealment of the fate or whereabouts of the disappeared person, which place such a person outside the protection of the law. 



Section 1. AFAD shall have for its membership the organizations of families, relatives and friends of victims of the involuntary disappeared persons in Asia, the surfaced disappeared and the advocates and defenders of the rights of the victims and their families.

Section 2. Membership shall be open to any organization which qualifies under the preceding section and which adheres to the principles and objectives under Article ll and lll thereof.

Section 3 – There can be more than one member in one country to ensure the federation’s wide reach and in recognition that all families of the disappeared should have equal opportunities to avail of the benefits of the work of AFAD.

Section 4 – The AFAD Congress and the AFAD Council may invite individual human rights advocates who have been proven to have been working for the cause of the disappeared.  The invitation would be based on a recommendation of any member of the AFAD Council and Secretariat or any delegate/participant of the AFAD Congress.  If accepted, these members can be invited in all activities of the federation but without voting power.



Section 1. AFAD is a regional federation that shall be composed of the Congress, the Council, the Secretariat and the General Membership, including individual members.

Section 2. The Congress shall be the highest policy-making body of the federation. It shall be composed of the officers and two delegates elected or appointed by each member-organization.  Individual members can attend the AFAD Congress and can participate fully during discussions, but do not have voting power.

Section 3. In between Congresses, the Council shall be the highest policy-making body of the federation. It shall be composed of one representative nominated by each member-organization and the three officers of the federation: the Chairperson, the Secretary General and the Treasurer. They shall meet as the need arises. 

Section 4. The Council members shall be elected by their own member-organizations with the approval of the Congress or the Council as the case may be. In no case shall more than one officer come from one country.

Section 5. The Executive Council shall be composed of the Chairperson, Secretary-General and the Treasurer. It may meet as the need arises In between Council meetings to execute the policies of the Council.

Section 6. The Secretariat shall be entrusted with the facilitation of the day-to-day implementation of the general program drawn up by the Congress. It shall be composed of the Secretary-General and the staff hired in consultation with the Council and the Executive Council.



Section 1 – This Constitution or any provision thereof may be adopted, amended, modified or repealed by a vote of at least two-thirds of the voting members in a duly constituted quorum of the Congress



Section 1 – This Constitution shall take effect upon ratification by the Congress.


Ratified by the Delegates to the Fourth AFAD Congress held on 31 May to 5 June 2010 in Bogor, Indonesia


cover-afad-primerRespect the Right not to be Disappeared!

A Primer on the United Nations Convention for the Protection of all Persons from Enforced Disappearance

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