Enforced disappearances represent a serious violation of fundamental rights. They are defined by the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance of 20 December 2006 as “the arrest, detention, abduction or any other form of deprivation of liberty committed by agents of the State or by persons or groups of persons acting with the authorization, support or acquiescence of the State, followed by a refusal to acknowledge the deprivation of liberty or by concealment of the fate or whereabouts of the disappeared person, which place such a person outside the protection of the law” (article 2). The widespread or systematic practice of enforced disappearances constitutes a crime against humanity (article 5 of the convention), that affects the victims, but also their close relatives as well as their communities.
The United Nations has been fighting this phenomenon for forty years. Since 1980, the Working Group on enforced or involuntary disappearances has been seized of more than 55 000 enforced disappearances cases regarding 105 States. The convention is currently ratified by 59 States parties. Approximatively forty other States, notably European, are signatory countries.
Unfortunately, the European continent isn’t spared by enforced disappearances that can be used as a mean of political repression against opponents and harassment of human rights’ defenders. This situation must stop.
In view of these stakes of protection of human rights, the Parliamentary Assembly should call on the Council of Europe’s member States to use every possible mean to put an end to the enforced disappearances and to any impunity regarding this matter and encourages the States that did not do it yet to ratify the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance.