Milestone in Fight against Enforced Disappearances

Chairwoman Hautala welcomes the entering into force of the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons From Enforced Disappearance.[:]

Coming into force of this Convention marks a milestone in fight against this arbitrary and cruel violation of fundamental human rights, in all four corners of the world today. The crime of forcibly disappearing a person by the State places the individual outside a legal framework and renders the person unable to exercise his inherent and inalienable human rights.


Iraq was the 20th State to ratify the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance on 23rd of November 2010. The treaty will enter into force 30 days after the 20th ratification, on 23rd of December. The other 19 States that have ratified the Convention are Albania, Argentina, Bolivia, Burkina Faso, Chile, Cuba, Ecuador, France, Germany, Honduras, Japan, Kazakhstan, Mali, Mexico, Nigeria, Paraguay, Senegal, Spain and Uruguay.


The Convention foresees that disappearing human beings by state authorities is a criminal offence and must be punishable under domestic legal systems. This covers for example arrests, detentions and abductions by State if they are followed by a refusal to acknowledge the deprivation of liberty or concealment of the fate or whereabouts of the disappeared person.


The Convention protects the rights to justice and reparation of all the persons who have been disappeared or affected by it. It foresees that all instances of disappearance by State authorities must be investigated, prosecuted and punished. Victims are also guaranteed an effective remedy.


States are also instructed to cooperate to find out the whereabouts of disappeared people.


Furthermore, no exceptional circumstances whatsoever, whether a state of war or a threat of war, internal political instability or any other public emergency, may be invoked as a justification for enforced disappearance.


The Convention also considers that systematic practice of enforced disappearance constitutes a crime against humanity and adds that this shall attract the consequences provided for under applicable international law.


While entering into force of this vitally important Convention is a landmark achievement, Chairwoman reiterates her call for all States that have not yet joined the Convention, to sign, ratify and implement it fully and promptly.