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3 November 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 General Assembly to adopt the draft International Convention for the Protection of all Persons against Enforced Disappearances.

The Convention aims to fill the gap in international 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 first session of the Council on Human Rights in June, approving the Convention will "bring hope to large groups of people who have lived in a dark shadow of fear".

The Human Rights Council adopted the Convention at their first session on 29 June 2006. It is now for the General Assembly to decide whether the Convention will take its place among the other instruments of international human rights law. The WGEID thus urges its immediate adoption and speedy national ratification.

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 and to act as a channel for communication between the families and governments concerned. The Working Group is composed of five independent experts: Santiago Corcuera (Chairperson-Rapporteur), J. 'Bayo Adekanye, Darko Göttlicher, Saied Rajaie Khorasani, and Stephen J. Toope.

For more information on the Working Group, please refer to:

For the text of the Draft Convention, please refer to: