UNbacked treaty on forced disappearance of persons drafted in Geneva

“The draft convention represents significant progress in international law for the protection of persons from enforced disappearance, in particular by defining enforced disappearance for the first time in a treaty,” the statement of the Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearance of the UN Commission on Human Rights said.“This definition is entirely consonant with the United Nations Declaration on the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance,” it added, referring to an action of the UN General Assembly taken in December 1992.The Assembly declaration states that enforced disappearance occurs when a person is deprived of liberty with the direct or indirect support or acquiescence of a government, which then refuses to disclose the fate or whereabouts of that person.The draft convention will be submitted to the Human Rights Commission, and subsequently to the General Assembly for their approval before being opened for signature and ratification next year.The Working Group on disappearances was established by the Commission in 1980 to assist the relatives of disappeared persons in ascertaining their fate and whereabouts. The panel also monitors the compliance of States with their obligations under the General Assembly declaration on the issue.In its statement, the Working Group reminds States that, pending the new convention’s entry into force, obligations under the Assembly declaration persist. “The Working Group will continue to serve as a channel for the clarification of cases of enforced disappearance in all States,” it concluded. read more