It’s been nine years since the prominent Thai human rights lawyer, Mr. Somchai Neelaphaijit was forcibly taken and made to disappear on 12 March 2004 in Bangkok, Thailand. Before he disappeared, Mr. Somchai was assisting torture victims for legal remedies against Thai security forces in the southern province of Thailand.
For nine long years, Somchai’s families did practically everything to find him and to seek for justice by bringing his case at the national and international bodies. However, nine years have passed, until now justice remains very elusive.
The Asian Federation Against Involuntary Disappearances (AFAD) strongly condemns the Sri Lanka’s police and military forces’ halting of the families of the disappeared and human rights defenders in NorthSri Lanka from travelling to join a protest action in Colombo.
A mobilization of 600 people gathered in Vavuniya on 5 March to demand for truth and justice for their disappeared kin in a protest action organized by the Association of the Families Searching for theDisappeared Relatives set on the following day. The families initially intended to submit a petition to theUN office in Colombo to determine the fate of their loved ones.
Women everywhere are deeply affected by the global scourge of enforced disappearance. They are the wives, mothers, grandmothers, sisters, and daughters who are in the abysmal state of uncertainty and in perpetual search for their disappeared loved ones. They are often left behind to bear the socio-economic and psycho-emotional brunt of enforced disappearance. In cases when women are made to disappear, theyare particularly at great risk of sexual and other forms of violence.