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IKOHI

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

AFAD Statement on International Day of the Disappeared

International Day of the Disappeared
August 30, 2006

Humanity today bleeds for the many lives killed, disappeared and injured in an ever increasing level of violence. These are the priceless lives of people who meant the world to their families and loved ones yet have been simply reduced to statistics as casualties and fatalities of war. A war waged to serve the personal interests of the powerful few at the expense of human life and dignity.

At a time when much have been risked for the crusade to free the people from the bonds of fear and oppression it seems like the crusade only shackled the people tighter to fear and oppression. Bombs did not only crush buildings. Death did not only suck out the souls of the dead. Disappearances did not only steal people's loved ones. Torture did not only lash its whip upon the victim's corporeal being.

More than this, bombs shattered lives. Death sucked out the life from the living. Disappearances stole the world to many families. And torture tore the hearts of the victims and their agonizing families.

Nobody can understand the depths of pain and loneliness to suffer from such trauma but the victims themselves. A relative of a disappeared from Colombia tried to express in words how it feels: "to be a relative of a missing person means to be always filled with emptiness. Emptiness in heart, emptiness in house, emptiness in the meaning of life. This means to remember every day. But life continues not only for us but also for our children who need hope and truth."
Thousands cry for truth and justice! Thousands grapple to hold on to hope. But where is justice? Where is truth? It is ironic to find truth and justice imprisoned in a so-called free society which promised to give its people hope for the future.

30 August is the day for all the disappeared around the world. Today, we pay respect to each and every soul we have lost. We pay tribute to their indomitable courage to fight for what is right and true. We honor them for their sacrifice in this struggle for the true sense of freedom and equality.

More importantly, on this day, we offer them the fruits of our effort on the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance that has been adopted by the Human Rights Council in June of this year. And we renew with them our commitment to never cease the pursuit for truth, justice, redress and recuperation of their memory.

Last May, our Federation also conducted a forum for the Convention. One of our speakers, Ms. Irina Krasovskaya of We Remember-Belarus, called on everyone to unite in the face of this fear from oppressors. She said: "we are the real power that makes all dictatorial regimes collapse. This is the power of our unlimited love for our loved ones."Indeed, we believe we are the real power. And for that reason we stand here strengthened by our love for our disappeared, ready to take on the future hopeful to see the light of truth and justice.

MARY AILEEN D. BACALSO
Secretary-GeneralAsian Federation Against Involuntary Disappearances

Rooms 310-311 Philippine Social Science Center Bldg.
Commonwealth Ave., Diliman, Quezon City, Philippines
Telefax: 00-63-2-4546759
Telephone: 00-63-2-9274594
Mobile: 00-63-917-792-4058
Website: http://www.afad-online.org

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IKOHI was set up on September 17, 1998 by the parents and surfaced victims of disappearances. Since then, IKOHI was assisted by KONTRAS, until October 2002 when finally IKOHI carried out it first congress to complete its organizational structure. In the Congress, IKOHI decided its two priority of programs. They are (1) the empowerment of the social, economic, social and cultural potential of the members as well as mental and physical, and (2) the campaign for solving of the cases and preventing the cases from happening again. The solving of the cases means the reveal of the truth, the justice for the perpetrators, the reparation and rehabilitation of the victims and the guarantee that such gross violation of human right will never be repeated again in the future.

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