Parties to the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance hold their first Conference

Press release
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On 19 December 2016, the States Parties of the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance held their first ever Conference. FIDH, along with seven other international human rights organsiations, presented a joint statement during the Conference calling for the strengthening of international mechanisms to help protect people from enforced disappearances.

Mr. Chairman,

Over the last years and decades, supporting the plight of the victims and their relatives, our eight international non-governmental organisations have worked with the United Nations and several regional organisations to tackle the brutal policies and practices of enforced disappearances

Several of our organisations already facilitated the negotiations leading to the creation in 1980 of the UN Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances. We were also actively involved in the elaboration and adoption of the 1992 UN Declaration on the Protection of all Persons from Enforced Disappearances, and of the 2006 International Convention on the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance.

Today, jointly, we wish to welcome the historic decision of your first Conference of the States Parties to this Convention.

Mr. Chairman, our organisations fully share both your Conference’s positive evaluation of the Committee on Enforced Disappearances, and the assessment of your Conference that no other body could better implement this Convention, which entered into force on 23 December 2010.

The crime of enforced disappearance is an extremely complex phenomenon, with a large variety of facets. This specific crime is still widespread. It affects all regions of the world. The decision of the States Parties to the International Convention to continue entrusting the Committee on Enforced Disappearances with the monitoring of the Convention confirms the will of the States Parties to ensure seriousness, expertise and efficiency in the implementation of the Convention. This will no doubt further encourage so many victims in their difficult search for truth and justice.

Since its creation in November 2011, the Committee on Enforced Disappearances has made an important difference. During its first eleven sessions, the Committee elaborated and adopted its rules of procedure and working methods. It considered 18 States reports and adopted corresponding lists of issues and concluding observations. The lists of issues for three other States (to be considered next March) were also approved, as well as three reports on follow-up to concluding observations concerning eleven countries.

Another landmark achievement of the Committee concerns the requests for urgent actions (Art. 30 of the Convention). At the end of October 2016, the Committee had registered 348 urgent actions, out of the 435 requests received.

Today, our eight organisations respectfully call on:

  • all States who have signed the International Convention but not yet ratify it yet to undertake the necessary steps to ratify the Convention,
  • all the Member and Observer States of the United Nations to ratify the International Convention,
  • all States Parties to recognize the competence of the Committee on individual cases,
  • all States having received from the Committee a request for a visit to reply swiftly and positively,
  • and the UN Secretary General and the High Commissioner for Human rights to allocate more human and financial resources to the work of the Committee.

We are looking forward strengthening our cooperation with this unique Group of experts, which has the capacity to address all the facets of the crime of enforced disappearance.

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