Asian
Federation
Against Involuntary
Disappearances

history picComing from the points around the globe to sow the seeds of the international movement against involuntary disappearances, representatives of organizations concerned with the common issue of involuntary disappearances from Asia, Africa and Latin America attended the inter-continental activities sponsored by the Families of Victims of Involuntary Disappearance (FIND) during the 1997 commemoration of the International Week of the Disappeared. On this occasion, forming an Asian group to be linked to the already established Latin American Federation of Associations of Relatives of Disappeared Detainees (FEDEFAM) was envisioned.

A year later, the core of the envisioned Asian group, composed of organizations from the Philippines, Kashmir, India and Sri Lanka saw the light of day on June 4, 1998 in Manila, Philippines. The event was graced by former FEDEFAM President, Yanette Bautista. It was the start of a series of joint activities of AFAD and FEDEFAM.

Two years of ground work resulted in the convening of the Founding Congress also held in Manila. From a core group of three organizations, AFAD has expanded and is now a Federation of seven organizations concerned on the phenomenon involuntary disappearances and other forms of civil and political rights violations.

Its Second Congress, with the theme "Strengthening AFAD's Unity Amidst Diversity: A Key to an Effective Human Rights Human Rights Advocacy" will be convened on August 26-30, 2003 in Bangkok, Thailand.

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Sowing the seeds of Intercontinental Cooperation
Manila, Philippines- May 1997

Representatives of organizations of families of the disappeared from Sri Lanka, Cambodia, South Africa, Argentina and El Salvador conceptualize an Asian group of organizations concerned on involuntary disappearances to be linked to the already established Federacion Latinoamericana de Asociaciones de Familiares de Detenidos Desaparecidos (FEDEFAM)

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In a diplomatic briefing, the inter-continental delegates testify the involuntary disappearances in their respective continents, a picture that depicts the international phenomenon of involuntary disappearances in the world.

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In solidarity with the inter-continental group of delegates of organization of families of the disappeared, the local NGO Community attend the concelebrated Mass at the Flame of Courage Monument, Baclaran, Manila

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The Families of Victims of Involuntary Disappearance (FIND)-Philippines, in a resolve to initiate the formation of AFAD, celebrate the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass at the Flame of courage Monument, Baclaran, Manila

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August 23, 1997- Former FEDEFAM Executive Director Maria del Carmen Pariente visits the FIND Office and discusses about the possibility of the participation of the core of the Asian group to participate in FEDEFAM’s 14th Congress in Mexico

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November 1997- In a daring effort to start cooperation with FEDEFAM, the Families of Victims of Involuntary Disappearance (FIND) attends the FEDEFAM Congress and realize the steadfastness and determination of their Latin American Counterparts

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March 1998- Colombo, Sri Lanka- Families of the disappeared in a country where at least, 60,000 people disappeared see a ray of hope with the idea of forming the core of AFAD

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Aware of the differences in language, culture, political beliefs, religion and in many other respects, the Sri Lankan families of the disappeared hope that one day, all their tears will be wiped away and all their struggles will be laid to rest

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Mr. Parvez Imroz, Patron of the Association of Parents Disappeared Persons, shares a common experience with the families of the disappeared in Sri Lanka

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In a dilemma between despair and hope, the mothers of the disappeared in Kashmir believe that AFAD will bring light to their battered lives

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Amidst the hopes that AFAD brings, the pain of losing their loved ones is manifested in the very facial expressions of the mothers who never know until when shall they struggle and until when they wait for the truth to be unveiled and for justice to be meted out

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The Dawning Of A New Day – The Birth of the Core of AFAD Manila, Philippines- June 1998

Members of the Samahan Ng Mga Anak ng Desaparecidos (SAD) or Association of the Children of the Disappeared formally open the launching of the core of the Asian Federation Against Involuntary Disappearances (AFAD), composed of the Families of Victims of Involuntary Disappearance (FIND)-Philippines; the Association of Parents of Disappeared persons (APDP)-Kashmir,India and the Organization of Parents and FamilyMembers of the Disappeared (OPFMD) –Sri Lanka

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The local and international human rights community witnesses the sprouting of a new seed, the core of AFAD

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Friends from Indonesia, still euphoric after the fall of the 32-year Suharto regime, express solidarity with the families of the disappeared in their co-Asian neighbors

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A manifestation of Latin American Solidarity, Señora Yanette Bautista, former president of the Feferacion Latinoamericana de Asocianes de Familiares de Detenidos Desaparecidos, graces the core group launching of AFAD

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Harness our Strength: Cross National Boundaries. Address Injustices of the Past and Present, Combat Involuntary Disappearances-A Crime Against Humanity-Never Again!

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Mirth is seen from the faces of the delegates and guest at the sight of a newly-born ASIAN FEDERATION AGAINST INVOLUNTARY DISAPPEARANCES (AFAD)

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The Families of Victims of Involuntary Disappearance (FIND) staff members pose with the core of AFAD- an expression of contentment and satisfaction for a group newly formed with the acceptance of the challenge of the future

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In a workshop , the representatives from the different Asian countries share the experiences in the field in terms of the work against involuntary disappearances

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Amidst this dark night of the disappeared, in one of the light moments, the seminar participants had a bit of time for laughter

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AFAD meets for the first time with the families of the disappeared and those who were killed during the May 1992 event in Thailand

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February 2000-Bangkok, Thailand- AFAD prepares for its Founding Congress…

June 2000-Manila, Philippines—AFAD representatives from different Asian countries, including prospective members from China and Pakistan seriously discuss AFAD’s basic documents during its Founding Congress in may 2003

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AFAD delegates vow to be true to the theme of the Founding Congress: Achieve Concrete Victories of Justice! Unite to Struggle for the Desaparecidos in Asia and throughout the world!

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April 2000-Geneva, Switzerland—The inter-continental forum against involuntary disappearances composed of representatives from Latin America, Asia, Africa and Europe reconfirm the international phenomenon of involuntary disappearances at the halls of the United Nations during the 57th session of the United Nations Commission on Human Rights

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Asian-Latin American Unity: Marta Vasquez, FEDEFAM President and AFAD delegates sitting at the famous Serpents’ bar of the Palais des Nations after a rigorous lobbying with the United Nations member-states

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November 27-December 2, 2000—Jakarta, Indonesia –Banded by the common experience of social dislocation and involuntary disappearance, the Asian and Latin American lawyers seek to forge a collective and global response against this malady through various national and international legal instruments

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January 2001, Colombo, Sri Lanka—Determined to fight for truth, justice and redress for Sri Lanka’s 60 thousand desaparecidos, the lawyers and activist make a follow-up to the Jakarta Conference, one of the series of the follow-up efforts to fight for justice at all costs

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April 2002-Geneva, Switzerland—The warmth of the solidarity of AFAD’s friends, Allan and Kate Harmer make it possible for the AFAD members to find shelter in Geneva during the 58th session of the United Nations Commission on Human Rights

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August 2002- Bangkok, Thailand—To bolster the local struggle of the Relatives Committee of the May 1992 Heroes, the AFAD Council meets with the Thai National Commission on Human Rights

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The Tiananmen Square is a witness to the violent bloodshed that caused the deaths of the thousands of Chinese citizens and the consequent pain of the mothers and relatives of the victims. The cry for truth, justice and redress continues.

The Tiananmen Mothers is the newest member of AFAD

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November 2002- Cotonou, Benin, West Africa—Inspired by the example of FEDEFAM and AFAD, though the facilitative work of Linking Solidarity, human rights organizations and families of the disappeared in West Africa resolve to fight for justice at all costs

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January 2003-Geneva, Switzerland—The historic first session of the United Nations Working Group for the Draft Convention on Involuntary Disappearances, chaired by the Ambassador of France, meets for the time to discuss the possibility of a legally-binding normative instrument to combat involuntary disappearances. The presence of AFAD strengthens the reality that this scourge of involuntary disappearances is indeed, also a regional phenomenon in Asia

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

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