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COMMITTEE ON ENFORCED DISAPPEARANCES

Information note for civil society engagement

The Committee considers that civil society has a key role to play in assisting it in discharging its mandate effectively by, inter alia, providing at any time genuine, factual and focused information in relation to the different activities that the Committee may carry out in accordance with the Convention.  By decision 5/III, the Committee adopted a document on the relationship of the Committee on Enforced Disappearances with civil society actors (CED/C/3).

There are several ways in which civil society actors can engage with the Committee on Enforced Disappearances and its work, as described below. NGOs and other civil society actors do not need any ECOSOC consultative status to use these opportunities.

I. States Parties Reports under Article 29 of the Convention

According to article 29, paragraph 1, of the Convention, States parties are requested to submit a report on the measures taken to give effect to their obligations under the Convention within two years after its entry into force for the State party concerned. The deadlines for submission of States parties reports can be consulted at the following link: Timetable of reports due under article 29.1 of the Convention. In addition, pursuant to article 29, paragraph 4, of the Convention, the Committee may also request States parties to provide additional information on the implementation of the Convention.

Following the submission of the report, the Committee shall adopt a list of issues and then review the report in the context of a constructive dialogue held with the State party concerned during a public meeting. To consult the schedule for the review of States parties’ reports, please visit the Committee’s website (see sessions).

The Committee adopts concluding observations in relation to the reports of States parties that it considers, which include subjects of concern and related recommendations. In these concluding observations, the Committee may also request the State party to submit follow-up information in relation to some of its recommendations (see follow-up to concluding observations procedure).

Civil society actors may transmit inputs to the Committee before and/or after a report is submitted by a State party in accordance with article 29 of the Convention. Civil society actors are requested to observe the deadlines indicated in the NGO information note that will be available on the Committee’s website under the relevant session. Strict respect for those deadlines will ensure the Committee’s attention to the submitted documents. Civil society “alternative reports” which follow the same form of presentation as the reports submitted by the State party concerned are especially welcome. Inputs can be submitted prior to the adoption of the list of issues and/or the review of the State party’s report. Civil society actors may also transmit information related to the follow-up to concluding observations procedure. Civil society actors are encouraged to take into consideration the reports by the State party while transmitting their inputs.

II. Reports by Civil Society Organizations

The Committee welcomes local, national and international civil society actors, in particular associations of families of disappeared persons, to provide country-specific information on issues relevant to the implementation of the Convention in the State party concerned.

All submissions should:

  1. Identify the full name of the organization (anonymous information is not accepted).
  2. Be relevant to the Committee’s mandate.
  3. Indicate the State party to which the information relates.
  4. Indicate whether the submission should be considered confidential or can be posted on the Committee’s website. All submissions will be posted on the Committee’s website unless identified as “confidential”. 
  5. Not contain names of victims, except if related to public cases or if the consent of the victims or relatives is obtained.
  6. Be submitted in English, French or Spanish. As most CED members use English as their working language, documents submitted in French and Spanish should, to the extent possible, be translated into English. Please note that the Secretariat does not translate documents submitted by civil society stakeholders.
  7. Be transmitted to the Secretariat within the deadlines indicated in the NGO information note that will be available on the Committee’s website under the relevant session.

Suggestions:

  1. Written information should be concise, specific, reliable and objective as possible.
  2. Highlight priority concerns and suggest possible country-specific recommendations.
  3.  “Alternative reports” that follow the same form of presentation as reports submitted by States parties are especially welcome.
  4. Reports prepared by coalitions of organizations are encouraged.

The information/report shall be submitted electronically to the CED Secretariat in both PDF and Word formats to ced@ohchr.org.

Due to the large volume of information received, the Secretariat does not make copies of submissions. Therefore, civil society actors attending a session, if they wish to do so, may bring 15 hard copies of their reports/information for distribution at the meeting.

III. Attending the Session

Civil society representatives are welcome to attend, as observers (i.e. will not be given the opportunity to address the Committee), the public meetings during which the Committee reviews States parties reports in the presence of the concerned State party’s delegation.

In addition, during the sessions, civil society representatives will have the possibility of addressing the Committee during formal meetings (with interpretation in Arabic, English, French and Spanish). These meetings are set out in the programme of work and normally take place at the beginning of the session. Civil society representatives may also organize informal briefings (without interpretation) with Committee members. These meetings are usually organised from 14h to 15h on the day prior to the examination of a particular State party. There will be a designated room for these briefings. For those civil society stakeholders that would like to address the members of the Committee but cannot travel to Geneva, the Secretariat may organize video-conferences.

Please contact the CED Secretariat at ced@ohchr.org, at least one month prior to the beginning of the session, to confirm attendance to a meeting and/or arrange coffee briefings with the members of the Committee.

IV. Accreditation

Civil society representatives wishing to attend a session and/or meet with Committee members are required to be duly accredited. For this purpose, civil society representatives are requested to register at CSO-Net and follow the instructions contained therein. The details for accreditation will be reflected in an NGO information note that will be available on the Committee’s website under the relevant session. Civil society actors wishing to hold a video-conference should submit their request to ced@ohchr.org, at least one month prior to the beginning of the session.

Please note that OHCHR will not send letters of invitations to NGOs or other civil society representatives to attend CED sessions and that it is unable to assist with travel or accommodation costs relating to their participation as well as with visas to enter Switzerland.

V. Documentation

To consult the States parties reports submitted, the dates and sessions during which the said reports are scheduled to be reviewed as well as the agenda and other documents related to the sessions of the Committee, please visit the Committee’s website (see sessions).

VI. Additional Competences of the Committee  

The Convention gives the Committee additional competences, namely:

  1. To receive and consider urgent requests that a disappeared person should be sought and found as provided for in article 30 of the Convention. The guidance and model form for a request for urgent action by the Committee on Enforced Disappearances (CED/C/4) are available online. All requests should be sent to: TB-petitions@ohchr.org, ced@ohchr.org and registry@ohchr.org.
  2. To receive and consider individual communications from or on behalf of individuals claiming to be victims of a violation by a State party of provisions under the Convention. Communications are only received when they concern a State party that has accepted the competence of the Committee under article 31 of the Convention. The guidance and model form for submission of individual communications to the Committee on Enforced Disappearances (CED/C/5) are available online. All individual complaints should be sent to: TB-petitions@ohchr.org, ced@ohchr.org and registry@ohchr.org
  3. To conduct country visits to a State party when it receives reliable information indicating that a State party is seriously violating the provisions of the Convention as provided for in article 33 of Convention. All relevant information should be sent to: ced@ohchr.org and registry@ohchr.org
  4. To urgently address the General Assembly when it receives information which appears to contain well-founded indications that enforced disappearance is being practiced on a widespread or systematic basis in the territory under the jurisdiction of a State party as provided for in article 34 of the Convention. All relevant information should be sent to: ced@ohchr.org and registry@ohchr.org

VII. Additional Information

What is a UN human rights treaty body? - http://goo.gl/5qmti

For more detailed information on the work of United Nations human rights treaty bodies read the chapter in the Handbook for Civil Society - http://goo.gl/fc3bI

Factsheet No. 6 on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances

Rules of procedure of the Committee on Enforced Disappearances (CED/C/1)

Methods or work of the Committee on Enforced Disappearances

Contact Information:
Secretariat of the Committee on Enforced Disappearances, Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights
Tel. +41.22.917.92.56
Fax: +41.22.917.90.08
E-mail: ced@ohchr.org
Mailing address: UNOG-OHCHR, CH-1211 Geneva 10, Switzerland

E-mail Addresses:

For the submission of information / reports: ced@ohchr.org and registry@ohchr.org

For requests of urgent actions and individual complaints:  TB-petitions@ohchr.org, ced@ohchr.org and registry@ohchr.org

For accreditation to the sessions: register online at CSO-Net and follow the instructions contained therein (the link will appear in an NGO information note that will be available on the Committee’s website under the relevant session).

Country-specific information