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[Statement] First conference of the States Parties to the International Convention for the Protection of all Persons from Enforced Disappearance

December 2016

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 the regions. 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 made the difference. During its first eleven sessions, the Committee elaborated and adopted its rules of procedures 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 international Non-Governmental Organisations respectfully call on:

  • all the States who signed the International Convention but did not 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 the States Parties to recognize the competence of the Committee on individual cases,
  • all the States having received from the Committee a request for a visit to reply swiftly and positively,
  • and the 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.

Geneva, 19 December 2016

  • the International Commission of Jurists (ICJ),
  • the Churches’ Commission on International Affairs of the World Council of Churches (CCIA-WCC),
  • the International Federation of Human Rights (FIDH),
  • the International Service for Human Rights (ISHR),
  • the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT),
  • the International Federation of the Action of Christians for the Abolition of Torture (FIACAT),
  • TRIAL International,
  • and Geneva for Human Rights (GHR).
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