AFAD Commemorates the International Week of the Disappeared, 2018

AFAD Commemorates the International Week of the Disappeared, 2018

The Asian Federation Against Involuntary Disappearances commemorates the International Week of the Disappeared and expresses solidarity with the families whose loved ones have been forcibly disappeared.

Every last week of May, the global community comes together to remember the disappeared and renew its pledge to fight to create a world where enforced disappearances no longer occur. First commemorated by the Latin American Federation of Associations of Relatives of Disappeared-Detainees (FEDEFAM) in the early 1980s, the International Week of the Disappeared has been adopted by AFAD since its first year. As AFAD commemorates its 20th year, this is the 20th year since AFAD first commemorated this significant occasion.

The International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on 20th December 2006. As of today, 97 states have signed the Convention and 58 have ratified it. Even in those countries which have ratified it, the situation of enforced disappearance remains dismal, despite legal measures. Enforced disappearances continue to be perpetrated as part of state repression.

Enforced disappearance is considered by the United Nations Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances (UNWGEID) as a continuing offense that begins with the abduction of the victims and continues till the State acknowledges the detention or reveals information about the fate of the disappeared.

The phenomenon of enforced disappearances is widely experienced especially in Asian countries. The UNWGEID in its Annual Report, 2017 has documented 45,213 outstanding cases of enforced disappearances from 94 countries. Out of these 36 countries are from Asia with 27,105 outstanding cases of enforced disappearances. This is indicative of the appalling condition of the phenomenon of disappearances in Asian region.

AFAD has extensively campaigned against the phenomenon of enforced disappearance in all its member countries. The AFAD member organizations are severely persecuted and have had to face serious State backlash for supporting the families in seeking the whereabouts of disappeared persons through legal recourse and sustained campaigns. The Latin American countries have been taking positive steps for the ratification of the Convention and creating adequate legal provisions for truth and reconciliation and ending the phenomenon of enforced disappearances. But the situation in South Asia is abysmal. Most states in countries where AFAD members are based have shown reluctance in ratification of ICPPED.

AFAD calls upon the global community to support the struggle against enforced disappearances in Asia and join the campaign for ratification of the ICPPED and corresponding legal measures to ensure that families of the disappeared know the fate of their loved ones in Asian countries.

AFAD pledges to continue to strive for a world without desaparecidos.