A Liberating Sacrifice
“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.”
- Martin Luther King
In Philippine history, a number of religious organizations have played an important role not only in building the moral foundation of society, but also in championing the cause of human dignity and liberty especially under the most difficult and trying situations. In the course of championing the cause of human rights, especially of the wretched of the earth, Church people were and continue to be subjected to persecution.
(6 July 2012) On 11 July, Somchai Neelapaijit Memorial Fund will give out Somchai Neelapaijit Award to honor and support outstanding human rights defenders. Dr Charnvit Kasetsiri, the Rector of Thammasat University, will be the President of the Ceremony.
This award started with an open nomination of the general public. There were more than 20 individuals and organizations that were nominated for the award. The Committee member of Somchai Neelapaijit Fund shortlisted five individuals out of which one will be given this award. The rest will be giving certificates in recognition of their works. The five names include individuals and organization that is known publicly as well as those who work behind the scene. They all have recognizable record in the fight for rights in the judicial system, labor rights, community rights, and others.
Stand United Against Torture
The United Nations International Day in Support of Victims of Torture once again reminds us of all victims and survivors of torture worldwide and of our corresponding responsibility to stand united against torture and other forms of cruel, inhuman and degrading punishment. It likewise reminds us of all those who disappeared, many if not all of them have been and continue to be victimized by torture.
Torture is an abominable offense under international law. It is absolutely prohibited and unjustifiable under any circumstances in any place in the world. After twenty-five years since the entry into force of the Convention Against Torture (CAT), as a legally binding international instrument against the act of torture, this odious practice is still taking a terrible toll on millions of people around the globe. But despite this global commitment of the United Nations, many States and private individuals or groups acting with the authority, support, or acquiescence of States, continue without qualms to use torture to inflict physical and mental harm on any person in order to get information, secure a confession, exact punishment or extort money – all in the guise of national security or simply form part of a regular conduct of police investigation.
Fourteen Years of Avowed Commitment to
End Enforced Disappearances
Following the world’s observance of the International Week of the Disappeared, we, the Asian Federation Against Involuntary Disappearances (AFAD) commemorate today our 14th founding anniversary. As the regional federation of organizations of families of the disappeared and human rights advocates working directly on the issue of enforced disappearance in the Asian region, we have endeavored for fourteen years to make a strong regional response in the global struggle against the phenomenon of enforced disappearance.
During all these years of building the federation, from a core group of three member-organizations, AFAD has metamorphosed into a pro-active regional human rights organization of eleven member-organizations from Bangladesh, India, Indonesia, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Timor Leste and serves as the resonating voice of voiceless families of the disappeared in Asia - a region where human rights remain a dim reality and where strong regional mechanisms and pieces of domestic legislation for redress are non-existent. During the last 14 years, the Federation’s very constituents, the organizations of families of the disappeared and other organizations working on the issue of disappearances have relentlessly pursued the cause the disappeared and helped the families seek truth and justice. Admittedly, though we still have to reach out to many countries, taking into consideration the vastness of the Asian continent.