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Committee on Enforced Disappearances closes its fourteenth session

ROUNDUP

Adopts Concluding Observations on Reports of Honduras, Austria and Albania

GENEVA (1 June 2018) - The Committee on Enforced Disappearances this afternoon concluded its fourteenth session after adopting its concluding observations and recommendations on the reports of Honduras, Austria and Albania.

The concluding observations and recommendations on the States’ reports reviewed during the session will be available on the session’s webpage after Monday, 4 June.

Koji Teraya, Committee Rapporteur, presented the Committee’s report on the session which was held from 22 May to 1 June 2018, and the decisions adopted.  During the session, the Committee conducted three constructive dialogues with Honduras, Austria and Albania and adopted concluding observations on their reports.

The Committee appointed rapporteurs to draft Lists of Issues related to the reports of Peru, Chile and Italy, adopted Lists of Issues on Portugal and Japan, and also adopted its annual report to the seventy-third session of the General Assembly.  The Committee decided to establish a working group to continue considering the issue of the obligation under the Convention to search for and locate disappeared persons and prepare the guidelines on the issue.

During the session, the Committee adopted a statement on the draft convention on crimes against humanity prepared by the International Law Commission; endorsed the joint statement by the Chairs of the United Nations human rights treaty bodies and the United Nations Special Rapporteur on human rights defenders; and reiterated the request that the fifth week of meeting time granted to the Committee was effectively implemented.

In her closing statement, Suela Janina, Committee Chairperson, remarked that this session had further contributed to the consolidation of the mandate of the Committee as the “legal guardian” of the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance, with the aim of providing leadership in the fight against enforced disappearance.  

As of 1 June, there were 58 States parties and 49 signature States to the Convention.  The pace of the ratifications remained slow and the Convention was not yet at the point where it could show its full potential, said Ms. Janina.  In that vein, the Committee welcomed the ratification campaign announced by the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights which aimed to double the number of the ratifications in the next five years.  Reiterating concern about overdue reports, the Chair confirmed that the Committee would examine the States whose reports were more than five years overdue (Bolivia, Mali, Nigeria and Brazil), in the absence of a report.

The Committee had amended its working methods to reflect the main elements of the procedure applicable to the assessment of additional information submitted by States parties, which would allow the Committee - if the situation so required – to invite a State party to a dialogue that would focus on further measures adopted to implement the Convention and the Committee’s recommendations, including those issued under the urgent action procedure.  In that vein, the Committee had invited Mexico to a follow-up dialogue on the implementation of the concluding observations; on new developments that had occurred since February 2015 in the implementation of the Convention; and on developments related to requests to Mexico under the urgent action procedure.  Also, the Committee had decided to reiterate its request to carry out a visit to Mexico pursuant to article 33 of the Convention.

The growing number of urgent cases that the Committee continuously received showed that the phenomenon of enforced disappearance was not decreasing.  As of 1 June, there were 497 registered cases of urgent action procedure, said Ms. Janina with concern, and informed that the Committee would initiate the preparation of an analytical study on its urgent action procedure.

Turning to the statement on the draft convention on the crime against humanity prepared by the International Law Commission, the Chair remarked that its objective was to reinforce the legal cooperation in the fields of prevention and repression of international crimes.  The Committee had discussed the proposal formally and informally and had adopted a statement recalling the importance of progressive development of international law.

In conclusion, the Committee Chairperson referred to the budgetary difficulties that the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights and treaty bodies were facing in the aftermath of the resolution that the General Assembly had adopted at its seventy-second session, and stressed that the work of the Office deserved recognition and resources to continue to promote and protect human rights throughout the world.

Meeting summaries of all public meetings held during the fourteenth session of the Committee on Enforced Disappearance can be found here, and archived meeting webcasts here.

The Committee will hold its fifteenth session at the Palais Wilson in Geneva from 5 to 16 November 2018 during which it will review the reports of Japan and Portugal.

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For use of the information media; not an official record