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Statement of the International Coalition Against Enforced Disappearances (ICAED) to the UN Committee on Enforced Disappearances (CED)

November 11, 2011 Leave a comment

10 November 2011

Mr. Chairperson, Esteemed Members of the Committee, ladies and gentlemen – good afternoon.

 

About ICAED

The International Coalition Against Enforced Disappearances (ICAED) consists of 40 member-organizations from Africa, Europe, the Eurasian Region (Euro-Mediterranean Region, Caucasus and Belarus), Latin America, Asia and the United States. The ICAED includes both international non-governmental human rights organizations and national and regional associations of families of the disappeared which together are united to combat the crime of enforced disappearance and promote truth, justice, reparation, and remembrance for all desaparecidos.

 

ICAED Recommendations to the Committee on Enforced Disappearances

The ICAED strongly welcomes this opportunity to meet the distinguished members of the Committee on Enforced Disappearance (the Committee) on the historic occasion of its inaugural session. The existence of this new treaty body is a source of hope for thousands of relatives of the disappeared people throughout the world. The ICAED considers it essential that the Committee is guaranteed the necessary funding and staffing to carry out its functions in the most effective manner.

The ICAED calls on the Committee to ensure that its rules of procedure and methods of work are drafted in such a way as to ensure that the Committee can effectively carry out its mandate and functions and are accessible to civil society. In this regard, the ICAED urges the Committee to open a participative process in the coming months, in which representatives of civil society are invited to express their views and deliver proposals for the consolidated version of the rules of procedure of the Committee.

The ICAED stresses the crucial importance that will be played by the Committee with regard to the Article 30 urgent intervention procedure. It is essential that the Committee enables the functioning of this procedure as soon as possible, in a manner that ensures that it is both accessible to those representing the disappeared and appropriately coordinated with existing special procedures and other international monitoring bodies.

The ICAED encourages the Committee to establish close cooperation with the Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances, in order to enrich its own work in the light of some 30 years of experience of this Working Group by, for examples, coordinating the schedule and venue of sessions of the Committee with the Working Group and establishing a system of communication between the two bodies.

The ICAED also underscores the crucial importance of country visits that may be undertaken by the Committee. Wherever possible, planned visits should be announced as promptly as possible in order to enable the widest possible participation of civil society. The ICAED calls the attention of the Committee to the grave situations of ongoing and continuing cases of enforced disappearance in the territory of the following States Parties to the Convention: Honduras, Iraq, Mexico, Nigeria, and Tunisia, and urges the Committee to consider country visits among the possible responses of the Committee. In addition, the ICAED stresses the fundamental importance of ensuring a regular system of follow-up on the conclusions and recommendations issued at the end of its missions.

The ICAED urges the Committee to promote the effective implementation of the Convention in the domestic laws of States Parties and urges the Committee to develop guidelines and tools to assist States Parties in this regard. The recently published ICAED member Amnesty International Checklist for Effective Implementation of the Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance is a comprehensive guide for States Parties to implement domestic legislation fully in line with the Convention and other international law standards and may serve as a useful tool to promote ratification and implementation.

The ICAED calls the attention of the Committee to the importance of adopting interpretations of the Convention’s provision that affirm the treaty’s central purpose of ending the practice of enforced disappearance, as well as clarifying the numerous and complex obligations for States Parties that arise from the Convention. For instance, the Committee will be called upon to interpret Article 20 which provides for possible restriction of States Parties’ obligation to provide information about deprivation of liberty when a set of narrowly defined circumstances are met. In order to ensure that this provision is not abused, it is critical that the Committee provides an interpretation of this provision in the light of the spirit and purpose of the Convention. Similarly, the interpretation of the definition of a victim pursuant to Article 24 of the Convention in a comprehensive manner in line with international law standards is an important task of the Committee.

Finally, in the course of its work, the ICAED urges the Committee to pay particular attention to the enforced disappearance of children, including during State Party examinations and country visits.

 

Participating Organizations to the ICAED International Conference on Enforced Disappearances

November 7-9, 2011 Geneva Switzerland

Asian Federation Against Enforced Disappearances (AFAD)
Al-Ata’a for Human Rights Support-Iraq
Amnesty International
Asamblea Permante por los Derechos Humanos – Argentina
Asociación de Familiares de Detenidos-Desaparecidos, Ejecuciones Extrajudiciales y Torturados Huancayo-Junín (AFDDEET) -Peru
Association de Parents et Amis de Disparus au Maroc
Asociación Pro-Búsqueda de Niñas y Niños Desaparecidos de El Salvador
Asociación para la Recuperacion de la Memoria Historia de Catalunya (ARMHC)
Breaking the Wall of Silence-Namibia
Centro de los Derechos Humanos y Talleres Productivos Qatari Panituri-Peru
Colegio de Abogados – Peru
Collectif des Families De Disparus en Algerie
Comision de Derechos Humanos (COMISEDH)-Peru

Comité de Coordination des Familles des Disparus au Maroc (CCFDM)- Morocco
Equipo Peruano de Antropologia Forense – Peru
Federation Internationale de l’ACAT (FIACAT)
Federation Internationale des Droits de l’Homme (FIDH)
Fédération Euroméditérannéenne Contre Les Disparitions forcées (FEMED)
Federación Latinoamericana de Asociaciones de Familiares de Detenidos-Desaparecidos (FEDEFAM)
Families of Victims of Involuntary Disappearance (FIND)
Human Rights Watch
International Commission of Jurists
Jardin des Disparus
Liga Guatemalteca de Higiene Mental – Guatemala
Russian Justice Initiative
Track Impunity Always
Torture Abolition and Support Coalition
Civil Initiative We Remember -Belarus
Zimbabwe Peace Project

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Statement of the International Coalition Against Enforced Disappearances (ICAED) for the UN Working Group on Enforced and Involuntary Disappearances (UN WGEID)

November 11, 2011 Leave a comment

10 November 2011

At the conclusion of the three-day conference of the International Coalition Against Enforced Disappearances (ICAED) in Geneva, the Coalition underscored the crucial role the United Nations Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances has played in the global campaign to end enforced disappearances.

It is lamentable that despite the ICAED’s active and steadfast lobby both in the national and international levels for the ratification of the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearances, a significant number of its member-organizations come from countries that have not yet signed much less ratified the Convention.

In this light, the United Nations Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances (WGEID) remains the principal venue where families of the disappeared and organizations dealing with the subject of enforced disappearance can make their voices heard, more particularly concerning individual petitions and general allegations. Accordingly, the ICAED calls on the WGEID to continue discharging its functions even as it strongly urges the United Nations to provide the WGEID with the necessary staffing and resources.

The ICAED encourages the WGEID to closely cooperate with the newly established Committee on Enforced Disappearances and share its 30-year experience and expertise with this new monitoring body for it to adopt best practices that can effectively protect human rights.

The ICAED expresses its appreciation for the recent country visit made by the WGEID to the Republic of the Congo, which now brings the Working Group back to the African continent. Concomitantly, the ICAED stresses that attention to the African continent is most needed, as the rising number of enforced disappearances throughout the continent has become alarming. Under-reporting remains a problem amidst harassments, threats and attacks directed against associations of relatives of the disappeared. Hence, the ongoing monitoring by the WGEID is imperative.

The ICAED encourages the WGEID to continue conducting country-visits which should be announced as promptly as possible, in order to enable the widest possible participation of civil society organizations (CSOs). Moreover, the ICAED stresses the fundamental importance of a regular system of follow through on the conclusions and recommendations issued at the end of each mission.

The ICAED calls on the WGEID to sustain its accessibility to the relatives of the disappeared from all over the world, ensure flexibility of its procedures and take into account the difficulties experienced in the field.

In the light of the overriding importance of the country missions, the ICAED proposes that the WGEID consider modifying formal country visits and working missions. The visit of experts to different countries, even if not in the framework of official country missions, would enable them to formulate meaningful recommendations to governments and pursue fruitful dialogues with local civil society organizations.

The ICAED calls on the WGEID to continue close monitoring of the replies received from governments and to ensure that families of the disappeared, representatives of civil society, and sources of information have the opportunity to express their views on these replies.

The ICAED draws the attention of the WGEID to the specific phenomenon of the enforced disappearance of children, which has its own peculiarities and proposes that the Working Group elaborates on this in a general comment, identifying existing best practices and the responsibilities of governments.

The ICAED congratulates the WGEID for its recent study on the best practices concerning the crime of enforced disappearance in domestic criminal legislation. In this light, the ICAED calls on the WGEID to continue monitoring the enactment of domestic laws that criminalize enforced disappearance as an autonomous offence, in order to ensure compliance with international standards. In the event of non-observance of such norms, it behooves the WGEID to issue concrete recommendations to concerned governments.

The ICAED reiterates its gratitude for the Working Group’s unwavering support to the global struggle to eradicate enforced disappearance even as the Coalition pledges its support to the Working Group in carrying out its mandate.

Participating Organizations to the ICAED International Conference on Enforced Disappearances

November 7-9, 2011

Geneva Switzerland

Asian Federation Against Enforced Disappearances (AFAD)
Al-Ata’a for Human Rights Support-Iraq
Amnesty International
Asamblea Permante por los Derechos Humanos – Argentina
Asociación de Familiares de Detenidos-Desaparecidos, Ejecuciones Extrajudiciales y Torturados Huancayo-Junín (AFDDEET) -Peru
Association de Parents et Amis de Disparus au Maroc
Asociación Pro-Búsqueda de Niñas y Niños Desaparecidos de El Salvador
Asociación para la Recuperacion de la Memoria Historia de Catalunya (ARMHC)
Breaking the Wall of Silence-Namibia
Centro de los Derechos Humanos y Talleres Productivos Qatari Panituri-Peru
Colegio de Abogados – Peru
Collectif des Families De Disparus en Algerie
Comision de Derechos Humanos (COMISEDH)-Peru

Comité de Coordination des Familles des Disparus au Maroc (CCFDM)- Morocco
Equipo Peruano de Antropologia Forense – Peru
Federation Internationale de l’ACAT (FIACAT)
Federation Internationale des Droits de l’Homme (FIDH)
Fédération Euroméditérannéenne Contre Les Disparitions forcées (FEMED)
Federación Latinoamericana de Asociaciones de Familiares de Detenidos-Desaparecidos (FEDEFAM)
Families of Victims of Involuntary Disappearance (FIND)
Human Rights Watch
International Commission of Jurists
Jardin des Disparus
Liga Guatemalteca de Higiene Mental – Guatemala
Russian Justice Initiative
Track Impunity Always
Torture Abolition and Support Coalition
Civil Initiative We Remember -Belarus
Zimbabwe Peace Project

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Conference statement: International Conference on Enforced Disappearances

November 11, 2011 Leave a comment

CONFERENCE STATEMENT

 

International Conference on Enforced Disappearances

Geneva, Switzerland, 7-9 November 2011

 

Organizations of Families from Various Continents

and International NGOs

Gather on the First Meeting of the Committee on Enforced Disappearances

and on the 95th Session of the UN WGEID

We, members and supporters of the International Coalition Against Enforced Disappearances (ICAED) from Africa, Asia, Euro-Asia, Euro-Mediterranean Region, Latin America, North America convened for the first time at the seat of the United Nations (UN) in Geneva, Switzerland on the occasion of the first meeting of the newly established UN Committee on Enforced Disappearances (CED).  The CED is the body of independent experts which monitors the implementation of the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance (The Convention) by the States Parties.

Our gathering, which we considered a high level of solidarity, was also intended to coincide with the 95th session of the United Nations Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances (UN WGEID), which, in its 30 years of working for the clarification of the whereabouts of the disappeared, has supported and continues to support our work.

This historic gathering of the members of the Coalition has provided us with a venue to update ourselves on the phenomenon of enforced disappearance in our respective countries and our common campaign for signatures to and ratifications of the Convention. This is an integral part of the search for truth and justice and of our struggle against impunity.  A very important component of the conference was the re-launching of the program Linking Solidarity through the process of conducting a participatory research on Learning History.

Coming all the way from our respective countries, we share the still on-going and unresolved cases of enforced disappearances. The presentations made us reconfirm that in most of our countries, the heinous crime of enforced disappearance remains unresolved and worse still, persists with each passing day. The multiple violations of the rights wreak immeasurable pain and anxiety to both the disappeared and their surviving families and relatives.

The ICAED laments the resurgence of enforced disappearances across the globe. It expresses deep and special concern on the situation of enforced disappearance in Africa as the number of enforced disappearances throughout the continent remains of high concern. Under-reporting continues to be a problem and associations of relatives of disappeared people are targets of harassment, threats and attacks. The ongoing monitoring of the WGEID and of the CED is therefore of the utmost importance.

The Convention, which was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on 20 December 2006 and had entered into force on 23 December 2010 is a sign of recognition by the United Nations of the global magnitude of the crime.  It is a major victory of the associations and federations of families of the disappeared whose real-life experiences of the consequences of enforced disappearance have been fundamental bases of many of its provisions. To date, the treaty has 90 signatories and 30 States Parties.  Considering the global magnitude of enforced disappearances, much remains to be done in attaining universal implementation of the Convention.

Thus, the Conference deemed it important to chart its plan of action both for internal consolidation and expansion as well as for carrying out its mandate of campaigning for as many signatures and ratifications of the Convention as possible.

To make its international presence visible, the ICAED conducted a side event, entitled:  “Universal Implementation of the International Convention Against Enforced Disappearances:  A Task and a Challenge.”  The Chairpersons of both the UN WGEID and the Committee on Enforced Disappearances (CED) spoke on the imperative of cooperation between the two bodies and their cooperation with members of civil society.  The presence of the Argentinian government in the panel, whose commendable efforts to ensure the Convention’s implementation, is a source of inspiration.

At this juncture, the ICAED expresses its appreciation for the establishment of the Committee on Enforced Disappearance (CED) and calls on the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights to ensure that this new monitoring body is provided with adequate resources and staffing support to carry out its functions in the most effective way. At the same time, the ICAED stresses the importance to continue maintaining an effective WGEID, fully staffed and with sufficient resources as well.  The ICAED believes that the WGEID and the CED have to work in a coordinated manner.

The ICAED emphasizes the importance of both UN bodies.  The ICAED, thus calls on all States to cooperate with and to provide their support to the WGEID as well as to the new CED.

In as much as the ICAED calls for the support of both the WGEID and the CED, it expresses its willingness to contribute its wealth of expertise to the forthcoming exercises concerning the implementation of the Convention as well as the establishment of the jurisprudence of the CED.   It likewise urges both bodies to have an open consultative process including civil society, in particular, families’ organizations for the development of their rules of procedure and working methods.

The ICAED expresses the crucial importance of States to seriously engage in the fight against impunity and enforce by all means their obligation to investigate, prosecute and sanction those responsible for enforced disappearance and serious international crimes.

The ICAED calls on all States to ratify and fully implement the Convention and to recognize the competence of the CED pursuant to Articles 31 and 32 of the Convention and which are systematically included among the criteria applied by the Universal Periodic Review.  It further calls on all States to adopt domestic legislation to criminalize the autonomous offense of enforced disappearance and to ensure the prevention and punishment of this practice.  Corollary to this, the ICAED recommends that States take into consideration the Amnesty International (AI) publication, “No Impunity for Enforced Disappearance: Checklist for the Effective Implementation of the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance” in the drafting of relevant national legislation.

Finally, the ICAED underscores the continuing crime of enforced disappearance for it continues to violate the rights of the victims and to inflict endless sufferings on their families and relatives.  Thus, sustainability of our efforts is deemed important as the theme of this International Conference states: “Linking Our Solidarity; Strengthen Our Unity; Renew Our Commitment Towards the Ratification of the International Treaty Against Enforced Disappearances.”

 

Participating Organizations to the ICAED International Conference on Enforced Disappearances

November 7-9, 2011 Geneva Switzerland

Asian Federation Against Enforced Disappearances (AFAD)
Al-Ata’a for Human Rights Support-Iraq
Amnesty International
Asamblea Permante por los Derechos Humanos – Argentina
Asociación de Familiares de Detenidos-Desaparecidos, Ejecuciones Extrajudiciales y Torturados Huancayo-Junín (AFDDEET) -Peru
Association de Parents et Amis de Disparus au Maroc
Asociación Pro-Búsqueda de Niñas y Niños Desaparecidos de El Salvador
Asociación para la Recuperacion de la Memoria Historia de Catalunya (ARMHC)
Breaking the Wall of Silence-Namibia
Centro de los Derechos Humanos y Talleres Productivos Qatari Panituri-Peru
Colegio de Abogados – Peru
Collectif des Families De Disparus en Algerie
Comision de Derechos Humanos (COMISEDH)-Peru

Comité de Coordination des Familles des Disparus au Maroc (CCFDM)- Morocco
Equipo Peruano de Antropologia Forense – Peru
Federation Internationale de l’ACAT (FIACAT)
Federation Internationale des Droits de l’Homme (FIDH)
Fédération Euroméditérannéenne Contre Les Disparitions forcées (FEMED)
Federación Latinoamericana de Asociaciones de Familiares de Detenidos-Desaparecidos (FEDEFAM)
Families of Victims of Involuntary Disappearance (FIND)
Human Rights Watch
International Commission of Jurists
Jardin des Disparus
Liga Guatemalteca de Higiene Mental – Guatemala
Russian Justice Initiative
Track Impunity Always
Torture Abolition and Support Coalition
Civil Initiative We Remember -Belarus
Zimbabwe Peace Project

 

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