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Committee on Enforced Disappearances concludes second session

Committee on Enforced Disappearances
ROUND-UP 30 March 2012


Adopts Report of the Session, Annual Report for the General Assembly and Agenda for the Third Session

The Committee on Enforced Disappearances closed its second session this afternoon after adopting the report of the second session, its annual report for the General Assembly and the agenda for the third session. It also adopted two technical documents, on methods of work and on rules of procedure.

In the afternoon meeting Emmanuel Decaux, Committee Chairperson, announced that the third session would last for two weeks and allow the Committee to begin more regular work, including on communications, individual requests and on initial country reports. The two thematic discussions, which were held in private, were an extremely constructive exploration of issues which directly affected the Committee’s work: non-State actors and the issue of women and children as vulnerable groups. Mr. Decaux said that the difficult and sensitive topic concerning ‘States responsibilities and the role of non-State actors’ would be the subject of a day of general discussion with a public debate. Trafficking in persons was another issue which would feature in future thematic discussions.

Mr. Decaux said that in the five days of the second session the Committee had achieved good results, but that was partly due to pre and inter-sessional meetings members attended. Much work had been done on procedural matters, but the Committee had avoided falling into legal traps. The procedural parts of the Committee’s work were largely behind them; now the priority was the thematic and monitoring aspects of their work, as well as implementation. It was time for the Committee to reach out to the public at large: victims, relatives and vulnerable people needed to know that the Committee on Enforced Disappearances existed. Non-governmental organizations were expert partners who could spread word about the Convention on Enforced Disappearances. Mr. Decaux was pleased that the Committee would soon hold longer sessions, and said as the Committee was a young one it should be encouraged not to have any backlog. Mr. Decaux was pleased that the Committee had a good relationship with the Working Group on Enforced Disappearances, but noted that methodologies must be developed to ensure their work did not overlap.

In its opening meeting, on 26 March 2012, the Committee was addressed by United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay. It adopted its agenda and programme of work, heard a statement from its Chairperson and held an exchange of views between Committee members and the High Commissioner. The Committee also held a minute of silence in remembrance of victims of enforced disappearances.

In her address, Ms. Pillay said that enforced disappearance was one of the most heinous crimes. Disappeared persons were literally made ‘invisible’. The Convention on Enforced Disappearances increasingly drew attention and sought remedies for a plight that affected countless individuals but that often remained unaddressed.

On March 29 the Committee held three consecutive public meetings with United Nations Member States who were either party to the International Convention on the Protection of All Persons against Enforced Disappearances or interested in it; with United Nations bodies, intergovernmental organizations and national human rights institutions; and with non-governmental organizations and other civil society stakeholders.

During the session the Committee met in private to discuss its rules of procedure and methods of work including forms for urgent appeals and individual complaints, reporting guidelines, ratification strategy and its draft report to the United Nations General Assembly. The Committee held two thematic discussions, on non-State actors and on women and children under the Convention, and also discussed treaty-body strengthening.

You can read more about the work of the Committee on Enforced Disappearances, including recent ratifications of the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons From Enforced Disappearances, at its webpage.

The Committee’s third session will be held from 29 October to 9 November 2012.


For use of the information media; not an official record