On 23rd December 2010, almost four years after its adoption by the General Assembly of the United Nations, the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance eventually reached the 20th ratification which was necessary for its entry into force. Iraq was the 20th country that ratified this international treaty.
“This is an historical date”, says Mrs. Mary Aileen D. Bacalso Secretary General of the Asian Federation Against Disappearances (AFAD) and focal person of the ICAED, which gathers associations of families of the disappeared together with human rights NGOs. “The Convention represents by itself an achievement of associations of relatives of disappeared people and NGOs from all over the world. Its adoption was first requested by families of victims of disappeared people from Latin America, back in the eighties. It took more than 30 years to the international community to adopt this legal tool, which fills an immense and intolerable gap: the lack of an international treaty to prevent and suppress enforced disappearance. Contrary to what many people think, enforced disappearance is not a practice of the past nor is it limited to a few regions of the world. All the continents have experienced or are experiencing this criminal practice. People are disappearing in many parts of the world. In such light, the Convention will be an effective tool for the international community in its struggle against this scourge”.
The Convention provides for the right not to be subjected to enforced disappearance as well as the right for the relatives of the disappeared persons to know the truth. The Convention contains several provisions concerning prevention, investigation and sanctioning of this crime, as well as the rights of victims and their relatives and the wrongful removal of children born during their captivity. The Convention further sets forth the obligation of international cooperation, both in the suppression of the practice and in dealing with humanitarian aspects related to the crime. The Convention establishes a Committee on Enforced Disappearances, which will be charged with important and innovative functions of monitoring and protection at the international level.
“The entry into force of the Convention is a crucial step forward”, added Mrs. Bacalso “but much remains to be done.
The ICAED calls all States that already ratified the Convention and have not yet done so to recognize also the competence of the new Committee on Enforced Disappearance to receive and consider individual complaints.
Further, the ICAED calls those States that have not yet done so to sign and ratify the Convention without delay and as a priority matter, refraining from reservations that may result incompatible with the object and purposes of the Convention.
Moreover, the ICAED calls on all States to enact without delay the domestic legislation which is necessary to fully implement the Convention.
Finally, the ICAED looks forward to seeing the prompt establishment of the Committee on Enforced Disappearance, which can surely play a fundamental role in the enforcement of the Convention and, ultimately in the fight against impunity and in the prevention of enforced disappearance”.
FIACAT is a member of the International Coalition’s steering committee.
Nathalie Jeannin, 00 41 78 74 99 328