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[Press Release] ICAED to host a Conference on Enforced Disappearances in Geneva, Switzerland

November 2011

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The International Coalition Against Enforced Disappearances (ICAED) will convene its 40 member-organizations from Africa, Eurasian Region (Euro-Mediterranean Region, Caucasus and Belarus), Latin America and Asia and the United States and international observers in an international conference to be held on 7-9 November 2011 in Geneva, Switzerland. The theme of which is LINKING OUR SOLIDARITY: Strengthen our Unity; Renew our Commitment Towards the Ratification of the International Treaty Against Enforced Disappearances.

The first to be organized since the signing of the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance (or the Convention) in 2007, the Conference is a venue for coalition members to meet and update on local situation on enforced disappearances and on their campaign for the signing of the Convention. It also seeks to keep track of the global developments on enforced disappearances and come up with a two or three-year program of action vis-a-vis the continuing advocacy for the ratification of the Convention and for addressing the struggle of families of the disappeared.

A Side Event entitled: “ Universal Implementation of the Convention: A Task and A Challenge” will be held on 9 November, 1-3 p.m. at Room XXlll of Palais des Nations. It is aimed to give further global visibility at the UN level to the Coalition’s continuing campaign for more signatures to and ratifications of the Convention. The panel of speakers is composed of Chair of the UN WGEID, Mr. Jeremy Sarkin; French Expert of the Committee on Enforced Disappearances, Mr. Emmanuel Decaux and First Secretary of the Permanent Mission of Argentina to the UN in Geneva, Mr. Sebastian Rosales.

The adoption of the Convention by the United Nations (UN) General Assembly on 20 December 2006 after the three-year drafting and negotiation process at the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland was the fastest human rights treaty ever in the history of the UN. The process was led by the French Government, through the able leadership of the late French Ambassador Bernard Kessedjian and which was participated in by organizations of families of the disappeared and international non-government organizations. After achieving the 20th instrument of ratification, the Convention entered into force on 23 December 2010 and has now been signed by 90 States and ratified by 30. Its monitoring body, the Committee on Enforced Disappearances (CED), was established at the end of May 2011 and will officially meet on the first week of November in Geneva.

The ICAED, under the coordinatorship of its new ICAED Focal Point, the Asian Federation Against involuntary Disappearances (AFAD), sees it fitting to bring together coalition members and representatives of the human rights community in time for the first meeting of the UN CED and the official session of the UN Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances (UN WGEID).

Established in 2007, the ICAED through its campaign, lobbying and public information and dissemination work in many countries at the national, regional and international levels has been contributing to a large measure to what has been achieved so far. The following member-organizations form part of the current Steering Committee of the ICAED: Amnesty International (AI); Asian Federation Against involuntary Disappearances (AFAD); Collectif des Families De Disparus en Algerie (CFDA); FEDEFAM; FEMED; Federation Internationale de l’ACAT/ International Federation of Action by Christians for the Abolition of Torture (FIACAT); Federation Internationale des Droits de l’Homme (FIDH); Human Rights Watch (HRW); International Committee for Justice (ICJ); and We Remember-Belarus.

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