The Asian Federation Against Involuntary Disappearances (AFAD) is a federation of human rights organizations working directly on the issue of involuntary disappearances in Asia. Envisioning a world without desaparecidos, the Federation was founded on June 4, 1998 in Manila, Philippines.
The Federation was established based on the common phenomena of enforced or involuntary disappearances in many Asian countries and the imperative of regional and international solidarity in order to strongly respond to the problem. The perpetrators, being agents of states, are so powerful that an equally strong response is needed to effect a huge impact. Since it is a violation of a number of basic human rights, civil and political as well as economic and social, enforced disappearance is the cruelest form of human rights violation. A Federation, whose own strength is drawn from the intrinsic strength of its member-organizations, is imperative in order to respond to the needs of the families of the disappeared. It intends to facilitate their empowerment which is necessary for the realization of a world without desaparecidos.
AFAD is guided by the principles of mutual support among member-organizations, transparency within the Federation and with other regional formations, and sustainability of efforts.
The Federation adheres to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), the United Nations Declaration for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances (UNDPAPFEID), the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR), and the Convention Against Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman and Degrading Treatment and Punishment. AFAD, who gave its concrete contribution to the adoption of a new international treaty which recognizes the right to truth and the right not to be subjected to enforced disappearances, adheres to and promotes the ratification of the United Nations Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance. AFAD likewise adheres to the principles of gender equality, care for the environment and nature and non-discrimination.
The Federation works for the attainment of truth, justice, redress and the reconstruction of the historical memory of the disappeared. In so doing, it actively participates in the overall struggle for social transformation which is a necessary requirement to realize a world without desaparecidos.
AFAD, through its member-organizations, facilitates the search for the disappeared with the intention of rescuing lives. The Federation’s general objectives are:
Promote and forge international solidarity among organizations of the families of the disappeared in Asia and with similar formations in other continents;
Provide assistance to member-organizations in ensuring a stronger response to the phenomena of enforced disappearances;
Conduct campaign and lobby work in addressing the issue of enforced disappearances in Asia, thus ensuring the attainment of truth, justice, redress and the reconstruction of the collective memory of the disappeared;
Strengthen the capacity of the federation and its member-organizations through various forms of empowerment and capacity building activities.
AFAD includes organizations working directly on the issue of enforced disappearances, including institutions and organizations of families, relatives and friends of victims of involuntary disappearances in Asia, as well as surfaced disappeared and advocates and defenders of the rights of the members and their families.
AFAD links arms with the Latin American Federation of Associations of Relatives of Disappeared-Detainees (FEDEFAM); with similar formations in other continents and with human rights institutions working on the issue of enforced disappearances. It also works with the United Nations Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances and other international bodies that promote and defend human rights.