28 June 2006
The United Nations Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances issued the following statement today:
The United Nations Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances (WGEID) calls on the members of the Human Rights Council, at their first session in Geneva, to adopt the Draft International Convention for the Protection of All Persons against Enforced Disappearances.
The Convention aims to fill the gap in international worldwide legislation for the prevention of disappearances. The Draft Convention would establish the obligation on Governments to prevent and punish the crime of enforced disappearances.
The Working Group fully endorses the Convention and the subsequent strengthening of international law in this area when the Convention comes into force. As the Secretary-General said at the opening day of the Council, approving the convention will "bring hope to large groups of people who have lived in a dark shadow of fear".
The Working Group was established by the United Nations Commission on Human Rights 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 Declaration on the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance. The Working Group is composed of five independent experts: Professor Stephen J. Toope (Chairperson-Rapporteur), Professor J. 'Bayo Adekanye (Vice-Chairperson), Saied Rajaie Khorasani, Darko Göttlicher, and Santiago Corcuera.
For more information on the Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances, please visit the following webpage: http://www.ohchr.org/english/issues/disappear/index.htm