Statements of AFAD
Articles on the Proceedings on the AFAD Leadership Training
Jan. 27 - 31, 2003, Philippines
AFAD Second Congress Resolutions
AFAD Second Congress
August 26-30, 2003 in Bangkok, Thailand
AFAD’s Mid-Year Report
Again, The KONTRAS – IKOHI Office Was Attacked
“ If they are dead, tell us”!
My sons, where are they?
Asian Federation Against Involuntary Disappearances
April 25, 2003
APDP-KASHMIR Lifts Hunger Strike,
But The Question Remains…
My sons, where are they?
is a question of a father of a disappeared who joined the on-going
hunger strike in the Indian-occupied Kashmir that started on April 17
and ended on April 24, 2003. After the hunger strike, such a question
asked since the start of the military insurgency in the Valley in 1989
still remains unanswered.
More than 50 family members and relatives of the disappeared
participated in the he said hunger strike launched by the Association of
Parents of Disappeared Persons (APDP), majority of whom are wives.
mothers, and children . Most come from poor families..
Children who have joined their parents during the hunger strike have a
very strange wish - that the Indian government declare their loved ones
dead if they have been killed. The hunger strike was a courageous
response to show to the Indian government the families’ frustrations
about the non-resolution of the issue exacerbated by the increasing
number of cases.
The hunger strike coincided with the visit of the Prime Minister, Atal
Bihari Vajpayee to the Valley last April 19 . In a press conference held
during the said visit, Chief Minister Mufti Muhammad Sayeed said that
there are only 60 cases of disappearances in Kashmir – a statement which
is contrary to his earlier acknowledgment in the Indian National
Assembly on February 25, 2003 saying that there are 3,744 cases of
enforced disappearances. Credible sources said that during his brief
stay in office, already 26 cases of disappearances have been reported.
APDP Patron, Parvez Imroz said “ if Vajpayee has a human heart, he
should address the problem and stop disappearances in the future.” He
further called on the head of the nation to intervene in the resolution
of this problem.
AFAD member-organizations, such as the Tiananmen Mothers’ Campaign Group
in Hong Kong , KontraS and IKOHI of Indonesia staged pickets in front
the Indian embassy in their respective countries to manifest their
solidarity. In Hong Kong, the embassy’s Information Officer, Mr.
Chaturvedi assured that the message of the Tiananmen Mothers’ Campaign
be relayed to the Indian authorities in New Delhi. In Jakarta,
Indonesia, a Military Attache of the Indian embassy, whose name remains
undisclosed, filmed the activity and accused the KontraS and IKOHI
representatives of supporting the Pakistan government. KontraS reported
that journalists who covered the event commented that it was the first
time ever that a picket in front of the Indian embassy was conducted.
In Muzarfarabad A.K., Pakistan, AFAD member-organization, the Truth and
Justice Commission staged a token hunger strike in front of its office
to express solidarity. Member-organizations from the Philippines, Sri
Lanka and Thailand conducted solidarity efforts through messages to the
families, information dissemination drive and appeals to the Indian
authorities . Furthermore, an international network of French-speaking
organizations concerned on the issue of involuntary disappearances
worldwide also supported the APDP ‘s struggle to end impunity.
Meanwhile, AFAD Secretary-General, Mary Aileen Bacalso sent a letter of
concern to the Ambassador of India in the Philippines with a copy
furnished to the Permanent Mission of India to the United Nations in
Geneva, which is presently participating in the 59th session of the UN
Commission on Human Rights. The letter reiterates the demands of the
members of APDP to end disappearances , punish the perpetrators, appoint
a commission to probe into all cases of involuntary disappearances in
Jammu and Kashmir that happened since 1989 and provide justice to the
relatives of the disappeared.
After a week of hunger, the suffering families have still to know what
the Indian government would have to do to respond to the above-mentioned
From the desk of:
JENNIFER S. PACURSA
AFAD Regional Secretariat
Rm. 316 Philippine Social Science Building
Commonwealth Avenue, Diliman, Quezon City
Telefax: 63 2 454 6759
Mobile No: 63 919 3376783