The Asian Federation Against Involuntary Disappearances (AFAD) will hold
its Second Congress on August 26-30, 2003 in Bangkok, Thailand. Some 25
delegates and guests from China, India, Indonesia, Pakistan, Philippines,
Sri Lanka and Thailand and guests from Chile and the Netherlands are
expected to convene at Baan Siri Hotel.
To open the activity, a public forum on August 26, 2003 at 2:00-4:00 p.m.
will be convened at the building of the Thai Commission on Human Rights.
The phenomenon of enforced or involuntary disappearances will be presented
by Mr. Nicholas Howen of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human
Rights, the Keynote Speaker of this event.
To note, AFAD states that while Asian governments want to elude from the
reality that this most cruel form of human rights violation is an Asian
phenomenon, statistics show otherwise.
The Tiananmen Mothers Campaign group in Hong Kong estimates between 3,000
to 4,000 cases of involuntary disappearances after the June Fourth
In India, the Association of Parents and Disappeared Persons (APDP) of
Kashmir, India reported that more than 8,000 people have disappeared when
armed conflict began in 1989. The Indian government however has reported a
lesser figure of 3,931.
The number of cases reported by KontraS and Ikohi of Indonesia, on the
other hand, is 1,292. In Pakistan, according to the Truth and Justice
Commission, more than 500 persons have been abducted from different places
in the country by the Federal Bureau of Investigation of the U.S. who have
been reportedly taken to Cuba.
In Pakistan, the Truth and Justice Commission, an organization of some
families of the disappeared, has difficulty in documenting a number of
cases in Pakistan due to security problems. But then, the two hundred
cases that they have documented initially pales in comparison to the
actual number of cases.
In the Philippines, there are 1,852 reported cases of involuntary
disappearance since the dark years of Martial Law up to the present. The
Philippine government has still to give birth to a law penalizing
involuntary disappearances. The Anti-Enforced or Involuntary Disappearance
Bill, if approved, will be the first law against involuntary
disappearances in Asia. The recent ruling of the Supreme Court declaring
the Marcoses’ wealth as ill – gotten and deciding to give compensation to
families of the disappeared among other human rights victims is an initial
victory in this struggle against involuntary disappearances.
In Thailand, the Relatives Committee of the May 1992 Heroes continue to
press the Thai government to return remains of the disappeared persons, to
give just compensation to the families of the victims of the disappeared,
the killed and the wounded, to build a monument for the May 1992 Heroes.
After 11 years of struggle, much remains to be desired.
The above-situation will be presented in a slide production during the
public forum. Expected audience come from the local and international
media, the NGO community and the diplomatic community.
The Congress aims to re-read the signs to the times, amend and ratify
statutes, draw up a three-year GPOA and elect a new set of officers. The
theme “Strengthen AFAD’s Unity Amidst Diversity: A Key to an Effective
Human Rights Advocacy” is an apt call at this time when regional
cooperation is imperative to respond better to the demands of the changing
THE DESAPARECIDOS, CARRYING THEIR LEGACY
Statement of the Asian Federation
Against Involuntary Disappearance (AFAD)
on the occasion of its Second Regular Congress, 26- 30 August 2003