“We lost our friend and the world a human rights activist”
Messages of Condolence: ANPUD pays tribute to a Senior Activist Mr. Dean Lewis
Bangkok, 7 April 2019 | It was a black Saturday afternoon, when he slept after his late morning breakfast and left for heavenly abode freeing himself from the agony and anguish. He was enduring a lot of pain due to his health conditions and was physiologically and psychologically weak. He was not any normal being, but rather an extraordinary personality with a kind and brave heart. It felt like he always knew about himself and lived everyday like his last day for the last several months. Yes, we are talking about Mr. Dean Savio Peter Lewis, a Bandra (based in West Mumbai in Maharashtra India) lad who during his last days was literally paralyzed due to a neurological condition and waited impatiently for admission in a Mumbai Hospital.
Dean is known to many of us in the region and globally as one of the passionate, critical, kick-ass, funny and a diehard human rights activists. With his charm and loud voice which he would always tell he does not need a microphone to be heard, he touched so many lives and was an inspiration to us all. His fight for ensuring equal human rights and opportunities was not only for people who use drugs but also for people living with HIV, people who lives/lived with Tuberculosis (TB) infection/diseases and other key and vulnerable populations to HIV and TB.
It is a great loss to both HIV and TB response in the global arena that our dearest friend and fellow activist passed away on 6-April-2019. This is with great sorrow that the whole ANPUD family, including the Executive Board members and the secretariat staff of ANPUD, on behalf of the Asian drug using communities, mourns for such a great loss.
He always ensured that his discussions were centered around those who were the most marginalized. He focused especially about involving people who use drugs to voice out their own critical concerns. He was one of the first voices of people who use drugs in India and in the Asia Pacific region. A man with a heart as big as the Indian ocean, a fearless Dean for whom not only thriving in his work was his goal but encouraging and leading the rest of his community members along was his goal in life.
Dean was the first among the few to lay the foundation of the Asian Network of People who Use Drugs (ANPUD) and also served as the first Regional Coordinator and a strong advocate for harm reduction in Asia.
Some of our Secretariat staffs and the Executive Board members had the privilege to work with Dean say that – “his attitude inspired every one of us to be better people and to try and be the best at what we do”. Dean always encouraged us to move on in life and never look back. His wisdom and knowledge will always be passed on and he will live with us forever.
Dean’s genuine passion and dedication in serving and advocating for the community has always been and will be role model for us. A man who was always up to date with all the policies, guidelines and resources and above all technology. Even after moving from ANPUD he was still a known global advocate of our community and became one of the strongest voices in the Global TB advocacy and the face of the Global Coalition of TB Activists (GCTA). He also served as the Co-Chair at the GF Civil Society Advisory Panel and was also associated with the UNHLM for TB.
Dearest Dean, your fight for equality for the most marginalized communities will continue to live within all of us forever. We have lost our friend and the world a human rights activist. The ANPUD Executive Board and the Secretariat Staff pays our tribute to your commitment and continues to work on the paths shown by you.
We also deeply share the pain and sorrow with his loved ones. Therefore, we express our sincerest condolences to his family for the demise of our friend and a Senior Activist Mr. Dean Savio Peter Lewis.
MAY HIS SOUL REST IN PEACE!
In deep sorrow
The ANPUD Family