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Help end enforced disappearances


#standup4human rights, end enforced disappearances, United Nations, human rights,Ask our government to ratify the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance.

Enforced disappearance is when ‘They’ come and seize people who may never be seen again.

‘They’ may come at any time, often in unmarked vans, wearing plain clothes, but sometimes openly, in uniform – and the people ‘they’ seize may not only never be seen again, but their arrest and detention may never be acknowledged.

Held in secret, these ‘disappeared’ are deprived of the protection of the law, and they are often tortured.

#EnforcedDisappearances is a grave crime that can happen to anyone.

It was the United Nations International Day of the Victims of Enforced Disappearances on 30 August 2017, a day of remembrance and reflection.

An estimated 30,000 people disappeared in Argentina during the military dictatorship in 1976.

Antonio Hodgers’s father is among the 30,000 people who disappeared during the Argentine dictatorship.

Tita Radilla Martinez’s father also disappeared in the 1970s.

And children who were born to ‘disappeared’ parents were sold or given away to other families.

Twenty years ago Nassera Dutour’s son was only 20 when he was abducted in Algeria. Two decades on, she seeks justice for her son and speaks out about enforced disappearances.

Thirteen years ago, prominent Thai human rights defender and lawyer Somchai Neelapaijit disappeared; he was last seen being forced into a car with a group of men in Bangkok.

His family is calling on the government to ratify the Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance.

Mimoza is starting the search for her missing father. Like more than 6,000 others in Albania, he was disappeared.

And Cristina from Mexico’s son is among the 43 students who disappeared in September 2014.

But Enforced Disappearance is not a crime of the past.

It is practiced by governments in every region, and in many countries it is increasing.

That is why the UN Human Rights Office has launched an initiative to double the number of ratifications of the International Convention for the Protection of all Persons from Enforced Disappearance within five years.

The International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance was adopted by General Assembly resolution A/RES/61/177 in December 2006 and came into force in December 2010.

Countries that ratify the Convention agree to be legally bound by it and are called State Parties.

Briefly, the Convention:

Provides that no one shall be subject to enforced disappearance without exception, even in time of war or other public emergency;

Obliges States parties to criminalise enforced disappearance and make it a punishable offence;

Provides that enforced disappearance constitutes a crime against humanity when practiced in a widespread or systematic manner;

Prohibits secret detention; and

Obliges State Parties to guarantee minimum legal standards around the deprivation of liberty, such as maintaining official registers of persons deprived of liberty with minimum of information and authorising them to communicate with their family, counsel, or any other person of their choice.

As of August 2017, 57 countries have ratified the Convention. The goal is for 114 ratifications by 2022.

Currently, a committee of 10 international independent experts, from all regions of the world, monitors the implementation of the Convention.

They follow up with States who have ratified the Convention, through reports from States and visits, making comments and recommendations as necessary.

They also receive and respond to complaints from victims of enforced disappearances, as well as complaints from States who claim other States are not living up to their obligations under the Convention.

The Committee meets twice a year in Geneva, Switzerland. Visit the Committee’s website to learn more about their work and to read the full text of the Convention.

And you can help, by standing up for the disappeared and their families. If you are not sure what to do, here are a few ideas to get you started. Or go to this facebook page.

Or you can #StandUp4humanrights by sending a letter to your MP to encourage our government to ratify the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance.

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