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IKOHI

Thursday, May 28, 2009

International Week of the Disappeared

In The Name of Truth and Justice,
Stop Enforced Disappearances!


Sign and Ratify the International Treaty Against Disappearances NOW!(Statement of AFAD on the International Week of the Disappeared)

Fr. Rudy Romano, Jonas Burgos, Wiji Thukul, Somchai Neelaphaijit, Gao Zhishing, Mirhaj ud-Din Peerzada, Maina Sunuwar, Masood Janjua. Father Thiruchchelvan Nihal Jim Brown…… They are a few among the countless desaparecidos from all over the world, whom we especially honor this week, on the occasion the International Week of the Disappeared. Plucked from the bosom of their families, deprived of life and liberty and of the contribution they could have continued to share with their families and the greater society, they are stripped of all human rights. Their disappearance remains unresolved and their number continues to rise with each passing day. Each desaparecido is not just a part of cold statistics, but is a human being whose family, relatives, friends, community and society are made to suffer for the uncertainty of his or her fate.

We remember the desaparecidos. They are the reason for the existence of our Federation, the very inspiration that moves us to tread uncertain paths to truth, justice, redress and the reconstruction of their historical memory. Many of them had earned the ire of the Machiavellian forces of our times. Their perpetrators made them disappear because in one way or another, they were involved or suspected to have been involved with the struggle for social transformation.

On this week, we take a bit of time to pause… to ponder… to reflect on the very people who are, in spirit, giving life to our Federation. In times of adversities, manifested in the difficulty to face the perpetrators of enforced disappearances and their masters, we find strength and inspiration in them whom we firmly believe are continuously guiding us in our work. We hold hands with our sisters and brothers in Latin America, Africa, Europe and in the rest of the world in our unified struggle to realize our much-cherished dream for a world without desaparecidos.

The 2008 report of the United Nations Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances has recorded 21 Asian countries that submitted outstanding cases of enforced disappearances during the past year. This grim reality is all the more aggravated by the absence of regional human rights mechanisms in the Asian region, which is the only remaining continent of the world bereft of instruments for protection.

In view of this, it is imperative that the United Nations Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance, which was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on 20 December 2009, be entered into force at the soonest time possible. It has garnered 81 signatures and 10 ratifications. We need ten more ratifications for it to enter into force.

However, amidst the dark night of the disappeared in Asia, since the historic signing of the Convention in Paris, France on 7 February 2007, no additional Asian country has signed, so far. In the Asian region, only four governments have signed and none has ratified. It is indeed, alarming that while the phenomenon continues to be unresolved in many Asian countries and unabated in a number of other countries in the region, Asian governments are not supporting this very important international treaty.

On this 2009 commemoration of the International Week of the Disappeared, we renew our vow to continue their cause by vigorously campaigning for the immediate entry into force of the Convention. Much remains to be done in this uphill struggle to have the right to truth and the right not to be subjected to enforced disappearances be fully respected universally through the entry into force of the Convention, the ratification of as many governments as possible and the enactment of domestic laws criminalizing enforced disappearances.

As we commemorate the International Week of the Disappeared, together with our Latin American sisters and brothers and the rest of the families of the disappeared world-wide, we chant: “Desaparecidos, Presente.”

By our continuing struggle, the desaparecidos shall forever remain present in our minds and in our hearts.

Their memory is like a shadow that will never leave us.
Long live the desaparecidos!

Signed and authenticated by:

MUGIYANTO
Chairperson


MARY AILEEN D. BACALSO
Secretary - General

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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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