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Friday, 29 August 2014

International Day of the Victims of Enforced Disappearances 2014, 30 August.

Disappeared Persons V. Missing Persons

The enforced disappearance of individuals by States constitutes an unacceptable violation of human rights. Acts tantamount to enforced disappearance of individuals by armed and terrorist groups also constitutes a gross abuse of human rights. This abhorrent practice places people outside the protection of the law, and thus potentially in great danger of physical violence and sometimes barbaric execution. In addition to causing unimaginable worry and anguish for the victims and their loved ones, this creates a generalized climate of fear and terror across entire societies.

Enforced disappearance was once employed mainly by military dictatorships. Increasingly it has become a tool of many States around the world -- some operating under counter-terror strategies, or fighting organized crime, and others seeking to quash dissent and human rights activism.

On this solemn day, I reiterate in the strongest possible terms that under international law, no one should be kept in secret detention. Any person deprived of his or her liberty must be held safely in officially recognized and supervised locations that observe the rule of law. States should provide full information about the whereabouts of persons who have been disappeared. And they must effectively implement the right to the truth, justice and reparation for all victims and their families. Enforced disappearance is a practice that cannot be tolerated in the 21st Century.

To date, the International Convention for the Protection of all Persons from Enforced Disappearance, which entered into force in December 2010, has been signed by 93 States and ratified by 43. It provides a sound foundation for fighting impunity, protecting disappeared persons and their families and strengthening the guarantees provided by the rule of law -- including investigation, justice and redress.

I urge all Member States to sign and ratify the Convention without delay. It is time for the universal ratification of the Convention and a final end to all enforced disappearances.

International Day of the Victims of Enforced Disappearances Saturday 30 August 2014. Remove all obstacles to aid search for the disappeared, UN experts urge governments 

GENEVA (30 August 2014) –Two United Nations expert groups on enforced disappearances call on States “to remove all obstacles” to aid investigations into the fate of disappeared persons. On the International Day of the Victims of Enforced Disappearances, the Committee on Enforced Disappearances and the Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances urge Governments to support relatives of the disappeared by removing all obstacles hindering their search for loved ones, including through the opening of all archives, especially military files.

 “More than 43,000 cases, the majority dating back decades, remain outstanding with the United Nations Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances. These cases stay open for several reasons, often because relatives have no support in finding out what happened.

The search for disappeared family members and, in many cases, the identification of discovered remains, is always the most pressing request of relatives who endure tremendous suffering in their long wait to know the fate or whereabouts of their loved ones.

 Many relatives face unjustified hurdles in their search, due to the lack of political will, or insufficient and inadequate investigations.

The recent reunion of Estela de Carlotto, president of the Argentine human rights organisation Abuelas de Plaza de Mayo, with her grandson after a 36-year search shows that with good will, cooperation and commitment, a positive outcome is possible, even many years after a disappearance occurs.

 Transparency and information-sharing is a good demonstration of political will, so we call on States to immediately open all archives, including military files, as these sometimes contain information relating to the whereabouts of disappeared persons.

 States should ensure that relatives, their representatives and all persons with a legitimate interest in finding out what happened have full and prompt access to national, regional and international mechanisms aimed at establishing the truth on the disappearances. This does not just mean removing obstacles to accessing these mechanisms, but actively promoting and facilitating their use.

 It is also essential to expand the use of forensic expertise and DNA testing and make adequate use of all the available technological and scientific techniques.

 The International Convention for the Protection of All Persons against Enforced Disappearance is clear: families and friends of a disappeared person are themselves victims and they have the right to know the truth regarding the circumstances of the enforced disappearance, the progress and results of the investigation, and ultimately the fate of the disappeared person.

 For this reason, the Committee on Enforced Disappearances encourages Governments, whenever appropriate, to set up ad hoc bodies and specialized units to investigate cases of enforced disappearance and to create national DNA banks to hold genetic samples of all cases reported.

 The time for promises has passed. Now it is the time to act. States must urgently address the anguish of the relatives of the disappeared and reinvigorate their investigations into cases of disappearances. We owe it to the disappeared and to their families and friends who wake up every day, hoping to know the fate and whereabouts of their loved ones.” ENDS

 Resources :

 For more information, log on to:
 Working Group on Disappearance,
Committee on Enforced Disappearances,
 Read the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance,
 Timetable of reports due under article 29.1 of the International Convention for the protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance

External links
Treaty Body Webcast
Amnesty International
Human Rights Watch
International Federation for Human Rights
International Coalition Against Enforced Disappearances
World Organisation Against Torture


  Information and media requests :
  For more information and media requests, please contact:
 Ugo Cedrangolo (+41 22 917 9286 /
or write to Maria Giovanna Bianchi (+41 22 917 9189 /
or write to


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