Committee on Enforced Disappearances
15 September 2017
Adopts Concluding Observations on the reports of Lithuania and Gabon
The Committee on Enforced Disappearances closed its thirteenth session this afternoon after adopting concluding observations on the reports of Lithuania and Gabon, whose reports were considered during the session. It also elected the new bureau and swore in five newly elected Committee Members.
The concluding observations on the reports of Lithuania and Gabon and can be read here.
At the beginning of the meeting, Koji Teraya, Committee Rapporteur, presented the informal report of the thirteenth session, noting with satisfaction that as of 15 September, 57 States were parties to the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance and 96 States were signatories. During the session, the Committee had adopted concluding observations on Lithuania and Gabon, and had also adopted the lists of issues on Austria, Honduras and Albania, and follow-up reports on Burkina Faso, Iraq, Kazakhstan, Montenegro, and Tunisia.
The Committee was concerned by the number of overdue reports and the Rapporteur reminded State parties that their initial reports were due within two years from the entry into force of the Convention. On 12 September, the Committee met with the Working Group on Enforced and Involuntary Disappearances; it held a public meeting with the United Nations Member States, national human rights institutions and non-governmental organizations on 13 September; and on 14 September it held the thematic discussion on the obligation under the Convention to search for and locate disappeared persons.
In her concluding remarks, Suela Janina, Committee Chairperson, paid tribute to the five Committee Members who had concluded their mandate and who through their work had set very high standards for other Members to follow. As a newly-elected Chair of the Committee, Ms. Janina said she would strive to ensure that the Committee mirrored the values of independence, impartiality, and responsibility. Welcoming the newly elected Committee Members, the Chair noted how swiftly they had engaged with the work since the day one of this very dense session. One of the issues that remained at the core of the Committee’s work was to increase the support for the ratification of the Convention, she said; great progress was achieved to date, but the Committee must not be satisfied with only 57 ratifications. Universal ratification was essential she stressed and reiterated the commitment of the Committee to continue to work with other stakeholders, including civil society, to this end.
The Chair then noted the many activities accomplished during the thirteenth session, including the continued constructive work and exchange with the Working Group on Enforced and Involuntary Disappearances on 12 September, which took into account the complementarity of the two different organs; the thematic discussion on 13 September entitled “The obligations under the Convention to search for and locate disappeared persons”; and the support by the group of State parties Friends of the Convention including the organization of the side event on September 14 to promote the ratification of the Convention.
At the opening of the session on 4 September, the newly elected members of the Committee pronounced their solemn declarations in accordance with rule 11 of the Committee’s Rule of Procedure: Mohamed Ayat (Morocco), Moncef Baati (Tunisia), Milica Kolakoviæ-Bojoviæ (Serbia), Horacio Ravenna (Argentina), and Koji Teraya (Japan).
The Committee elected its new bureau, composed of Suela Janina (Albania) as the Chairperson; Maria Clara Galvis Patino (Colombia), Mohammed Ayat (Morocco) and Rainer Huhle (Germany) as Vice-Chairpersons; and Koji Teraya (Japan) as the Rapporteur.
The fourteenth session of the Committee will be held in Geneva from 22 May to 1 June 2018, during which the reports of Albania, Austria and Honduras will be reviewed.
For use of the information media; not an official record
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