Adoption of the draft International Convention for the Protection of all Persons from Enforced Disappearance
Although the convention was prepared in record time (three years), this did not adversely affect the quality of the draft produced, in spite of one or two shortcomings.
It should be noted that the idea of a binding and efficient treaty originated 25 years ago - the Nobel Peace Prize laureate Adolfo Perez Esquivel became alarmed about the "tragic problem of disappeared persons" in Argentina, and a symposium, held in Paris at the beginning of 1981, advocated the adoption of a specific convention on forced disappearances.
The Action by Christians for the Abolition of Torture rallied around this project. In 1992, a non-binding Declaration against forced disappearances was adopted by the UN General Assembly.
It yet remains for the Commission on Human Rights, the Economic and Social Council, and the UN General Assembly to adopt definitively the Convention (respectively in April, July, and November-December 2006).
NGOs and associations of the families of disappeared persons will therefore need to redouble their efforts to avoid this potential minefield, particularly within the Third Committee of the General Assembly, where this time the 191 nations of the world will vote, i.e., three times the number of delegations that participated in the Working Group and were thus able to appreciate the "atmosphere" that led to a consensus.
This consensus, however, is fragile and will require, if it is to become universal, an intense lobbying campaign during 2006, particularly among sub-Saharan African countries.
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