On the occasion of the International Day of the Disappeared, the Asian Federation Against Involuntary Disappearances (AFAD) vows to make full use of Republic Act 10353, the Anti Enforced Disappearance Act of 2012 to bring home all Filipino desaparecidos and to exact accountability from its violators.
Republic Act 10353 or the “Anti-Enforced Disappearance Act of 2012, which was enacted into law on 21 December 2012 and whose Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) was promulgated on 12 February 2013, clearly define and penalize the act of enforced disappearance as a distinct and separate criminal offense.
The families of victims enforced disappearance in the Philippines have pledged to utilize the new law as a measure to combat impunity and guarantee substantial remedies to victims and their families.
While AFAD members laud the Philippine government for the passage of RA 10353 as an acknowledgement that the country needs to seriously address the problem of enforced disappearance, they are however disturbed that enforced disappearances persist under the present dispensation even as past cases remain unresolved. They take note for example, of the case of the three Islamic scholars en route to Sudan who were disappeared inside the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) Terminal 3 on January 3, 2012. While the Manila-based AFAD takes pride in the fact that the Philippines is the first Asian country to have an anti-enforced disappearance law in Asia, it stresses the importance of ensure the law’s full implementation and set a good example for its neighboring Asian states to imitate.
The federation also urges the Philippine government to accord its citizens with complete protection mechanisms from enforced disappearance by immediately signing and acceding to the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance and recognizing the competence of the UN Committee on Enforced Disappearance.
“Disappointingly, the Philippines until now is not yet a signatory much less a State Party to the Convention despite having committed to support the treaty as one of the voluntary pledges of the Philippine government to the United Nations Human Rights Council in 2007,” lamented Ms. Mary Aileen D. Bacalso, Secretary General of the Asian Federation Against Involuntary Disappearances (AFAD).
“While we rage against the disappearance of public funds from the government coffers through large scale corruption and irregularities, we must also strongly protest against the disappearance of people who fight against corruption and other social ills,” Ms. Bacalso added.
Days prior to today’s commemoration of the International Day of the Disappeared, AFAD has recently launched a publication on the phenomenon of enforced disappearances in selected countries in Asia including the Philippines and the #BringThemHome online campaign in order to continuously raise awareness of and generate public response to the issue of enforced disappearance.
Philippine Project Coordinator
Asian Federation Against Involuntary Disappearances
Mobile no. 0917.8968459
Office No. 490.7862
INTERNATIONAL DAY OF THE DISAPPEARED
AUGUST 30, 2013
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