The International Coalition Against Enforced Disappearances (ICAED) joins families worldwide
in remembering the desaparecidos on the International Week of the Disappeared (IWD). The
IWD is a time to reflect on the work that remains before every human rights advocate in the
pursuit of truth and justice. This year, the ICAED calls on governments to ratify and
implement the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced
Disappearance (Convention) and recognize the competence of the UN Committee on
Enforced Disappearances. ICAED also calls on civil society to hold its leaders
accountable to the principles of human rights.
With Dominica’s accession earlier this May, the Convention now has 60 state parties and 98
signatories. Even so, universal ratification and implementation of the Convention is far from
being achieved. The work for the disappeared is far from over. States parties to the Convention
need to continue their engagement with the Committee on Enforced Disappearances (CED). As
the CED monitors state parties’ proper implementation of the provisions in the treaty, these
states should not only comply but be proactive in reporting to the Committee.
Beyond ratifying the Convention, governments must enact complementary domestic laws
criminalizing enforced disappearances (ED). Legislators should consult with families of the
disappeared to gain a deeper understanding of the issues victims face. There is also a need for
the correct implementation of these laws, and thus civil society must see to it that governments
fulfill their legal promises. Civil society should also take part in transmitting reports to the United
Nations Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances.
State ratification, legal provisions, and civil society action do not create a panacea for enforced
disappearances. However they are the key steps forward in recognizing the gravity of the crime.
They serve as tools in obtaining justice to the deserving. Without these steps, society moves
further away from being a world without disappearances.
ICAED recognizes that there are widespread constraints to achieving the ideals above. In recent
history, the world has seen an increasing shift to populism by various regimes. This trend
precipitates further human rights violations including enforced disappearances. The need for the
international community to take action has thus increased in light of repressive governments.
When people of any country become victims of the atrocities of their own authorities, they
should be able to find recourse in international mechanisms.
ICAED stands firm in its commitment to end enforced disappearances. The Coalition longs to
see perpetrators brought to justice and the desaparecidos surfaced alive and brought home and
be reunified with their families.
This International Week of the Disappeared, the cry remains clear: neither one more victim of enforced disappearance nor one more criminal without full injustice.