The UN International Day of the Disappeared celebrates its 1st anniversary

One year ago the UN proclamated the International Day of the Disappeared. The institution of this celebration is part of a large series of initiatives taken by the UN in order to fight the tragical phenomenon of enforced disappearance. After more than 15 years working on the project, on February 6 2007 the International Convention for the protection of all persons from enforced disappearance was opened to signature in Paris.  Likewise other core UN human rights treaties, the Convention also set up a committee of experts to monitor the implementation of the Convention by the States Parties. The 88 States has indeed to turn in reports to be examined by the CED (Committee on Enforced Disappearances) that has also the task to receive communications by individuals or groups claiming that a violation of the convention by a State party has been committed. The Committee was also created to help the UN Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances which has been until today the only UN mechanism active in the struggle against enforced disappearances during the last 30 years.

Although the common thinking let us imagine that enforced disappearances are phenomena only belonging to South American countries, it is unfortunately still up nowadays in many countries of the world, affecting military dictatorships victims, political opponents and human rights promoters. Both old and new conflicts raised the urgent need of a legal framework for this topical  human rights issue. The International Convention, ratified by 88 countries, came into force on 23 December 2010 and it defines enforced disappearances as a crime, and set up measures to prevent it and to combat impunity, by allowing States Parties to exercise jurisdiction over the offence of enforced disappearance.