Monday, September 08, 2008

Remembering Munir…

There is an old adage that says "those who are brave enough to speak out in the face of death inspire the courage of others," This is how Asian Federation Against Involuntary Disappearances (AFAD) remembers its former Chairperson, Munir Said Thalid in the commemoration of his fourth death anniversary as it joins hands in solidarity with his family, friends and colleagues in the human rights community in Asia and in other continents in the pursuit for justice against all forms of human rights abuses and impunity.

In its third book entitled, "Reclaiming Stolen Lives" launched on 29 August 2008, the eve of International Day of the Disappeared, AFAD revisited Munir's life and work through an article written by Mr. Chang Chiu. The article provides accounts of Munir's exemplary contribution to human rights and to the demand for accountability as part of the democratic transition of Indonesia.

Munir as he is popularly known, was the most fearless and outspoken critic of Indonesia's armed forces which committed gross human rights violations in Papua, Aceh and East Timor during the 32-year authoritarian of former Indonesian president Haji Mohammad Suharto. He became the powerful voice of the voiceless victims of human rights abuses as he championed their cause in and out-of-the-courtroom even in the face of intimidation and coercion, including death threats. After the fall of the Suharto government, Munir co-founded the Commission for Disappearance and Victims of Violence (Kontras) to help the families of democratic activists who were kidnapped and murdered by the military to know the truth and to seek justice. He also served as a member of IMPARSIAL, a commission created by the government to investigate the human rights violations in East Timor. It was during this period when he was elected Chairperson of AFAD, a Federation of human rights organizations working directly on the issue of enforced disappearances in Asia.

Read more here:


Asian Federation Against Involuntary Disappearances
Rms. 310-311 Philippine Social Science Center Building
Commonwealth Avenue, Diliman, 1103 Quezon City, Philippines
Telefax: 00-63-2-4546759; Telephone: 00-63-9170792-4958

Irom Sharmila Video

Irom Sharmila is a young woman of Manipur who has been on a fast-to-death for nearly 7 years now. She has been demanding the removal of a brutal law from her land. Manipur is a north-east Indian state (bordering Myanmar), riven for decades by insurgency and armed separatist movements. The Government of India has attempted to control the situation militarily, granting drastic powers to the security forces. The Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act enforced in the region lets people be arrested, shot and even killed - on suspicion alone. But Sharmila is willing to stake everything -- even her life -- to restore justice and dignity to her people.