Tuesday, August 30, 2011

All States must end ‘heinous crime’ of enforced disappearances, UN demands

"The United Nations today called on all States to end the “heinous crime” of enforced disappearances which has seen countless people vanish into secret prisons or worse, often never to be seen again, in cases of conflict and internal unrest.

“Over the last 30 years, the families of disappeared persons have brought to the attention of the international community the extent of this odious crime,” the UN working group on the issue said in a statement to mark UN International Day of the Victims of Enforced Disappearances.
The Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances also noted so-called ‘short term disappearances,’ where victims are placed in secret detention or unknown locations before being released weeks or months later, sometimes after having been tortured and without having been brought in front of a judge or other civil authority.
“This very worrisome practice, whether it is used to counter terrorism, to fight organized crime or suppress legitimate civil strife demanding democracy, freedom of expression or religion, should be considered as an enforced disappearance and as such adequately investigated, prosecuted and punished,” it said.
Last December, the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance, which was adopted by the General Assembly in 2006, came into force after Iraq became the 20th State to ratify it."

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