[KONGRES II IKOHI] Solidarity Message from AFAD
7 March 2006
Dear IKOHI members,
First and foremost, I would like to congratulate you for the success of your organization. This struggle for the attainment of truth, justice, redress and the recuperation of historical memory has never been and will never be an easy task for us human rights organizations so long as the world’s governments choose to be numb to the sufferings of humanity and continue to not recognize the rights of every individual. Yet you have remained strong over these years. Your undaunted courage to fight for every person disappeared, tortured, killed; to protect every person from the inhuman acts of enforced or involuntary disappearances amidst threats of powerful and influential people is truly an inspiration to AFAD and its members.
Moreover, the organization has done quite well in continuing the fight that Munir had started and had dedicated his life to for the Indonesian people. Munir was a stalwart symbol of committed human rights activism. His work for the people is truly commendable and his courage admirable! He was never cowered by threats. Perpetrators of disappearances feared him instead for he brandished the sword of truth and justice. This prompted them to silence him forever and sow terror upon those who continue his work.
Despite this, however, IKOHI remains standing and fighting for the cause of the disappeared and for the protection of the citizens. Indeed Munir’s death must not be seen as a reason to surrender to the threats of the oppressive government but it must serve as a source of strength to further carry out his work and this fight!
IKOHI has come a long way since its establishment in 1998. It has progressed a lot since its first congress in 2002. Now, a dedicated member of our federation, we witness the growth and maturity of an organization that has contributed much to the global campaign against disappearances and impunity.
I believe it is but apt and timely to carry the theme of “Developing and Strengthening Organization of Victims of Human Rights Violation to Fight for Justice and Truth and Combating Impunity” for this congress that aims to further consolidate the members and networks, strengthen solidarity among the victims, unite the platform, mission and vision of IKOHI which is to achieve justice, truth and reparation and end impunity.
I and my staff regretfully may not be there on this eventful occasion in the history of your organization, but we send you these words of support and gratitude for your commitment and effort to stand by us and all the other organizations not just in the Asian region but the rest of the world that continue the fight for the cause of the desaparecidos.
As you have pledged support and unity with the federation, so do we, and all of AFAD’s members pledge support to you. We have been bonded by our advocacy. But more than that we have been made one by our hearts - our love for humanity. Let us all keep the fires of love and hope burning! Love will always be stronger than fear. Together with you, we shall continue to fight for a world without disappearances!
Again, congratulations and more power to IKOHI!
With you always in solidarity,
Mary Aileen Bacalso